Sicily Asks Cuba to Send Doctors as Italy Fights Second Wave

Cuban doctors from the Henry Reeve Medical Brigade wave Cuban and Italian flags after their arrival from Italy to Havana, Cuba. June 08, 2020.

Published 25 November 2020

Sicilian authorities have asked the Cuban government to send 60 doctors and nurses to the region as hospitals on the Italian island struggle with a medical personnel shortage.

According to the Italian newspaper la Repubblica, a request was filed this week by the Italian embassy in Cuba to send 60 Cuban intensive care specialists, nurses, anesthetists, resuscitators, virologists, and pneumologists to Siciliy as it’s suffering from a second coronavirus wave.

In March and April this year, two Cuban medical brigades traveled to some of the hardest hits Italian regions, such as Lombardy and Piedmont, to replace overworked Italian professionals, the first time Cuba’s Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade provided its life-saving services on the European continent.

During the COVID-19 pandemic alone, Cuba has sent nearly 4,000 health professionals organized in over 50 brigades to 39 countries in every continent of the world, one of the numerous reasons why world leaders, artists, activists, and health experts have called for the Nobel Prize Committee to grant Cuban doctors the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021.

Renato Costa, Sicily’s COVID-19 emergency commissioner, told La Repubblica: “The Cuban government has teams of doctors and nurses who are willing to travel to other countries to work, and we asked for their help. We know that in recent weeks other regions in Italy have asked Cuba for help, too. We just hope they will come to us first. I am in contact with the embassy, which has welcomed our request.”

On November 4th, the Italian government-designated Sicily as an “orange zone” of high risk mainly because of the lack of health facilities and beds in intensive care units. On Tuesday, Sicily saw 48 COVID-related deaths, the highest daily toll since the start of the pandemic.

As a whole, in Italy, there were 722 COVID-related deaths on Wednesday and 25,853 new infections. Italian health minister Roberto Speranza announced that on December 2, he would present the government’s COVID-19 vaccination plan.

Speranza said, “The purchase of the vaccine will be centralized. I have very great faith in the regulatory agencies set up to ensure its safety, but we’ll still have to resist a few months, then a new phase will be opened; we can’t afford a third wave.”  

The second COVID-19 wave has exposed Italy’s critical shortage of intensive care staff, as many medics have chosen to leave the profession or opt for early retirement after the trauma experience from Italy’s first wave in the spring.    

Italy’s doctors’ federation said that 27 medics had lost their lives within the last ten days, while nearly 27,000 health workers have become infected over the past month alone.

The Guardian

by teleSUR /les-MS

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Sri Lankan Organizations Requests Nobel Prize for Cuban Doctors

Cuban medical brigade waits to depart for Sri Lanka from Havana, Cuba, May 22, 2020.

Published 26 November 2020

The initiative to nominate them arose amid U.S. attempts to discredit the work of Cuban medical collaboration.

Sri Lanka’s Friends of Cuba Group Wednesday asked to nominate Cuba’s Henry Reeve Medical Brigade for the Nobel Peace Prize for its “humanistic work facing disaster situations.”

The Group launched a virtual campaign to collect signatures to support the nomination and in rejection of the 60-decades-long U.S. blockade against Cuba.

“This initiative is also a tribute to the Cuban Revolution’s historic leader Fidel Castro on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of his death,” Cuba-Sri Lanka Friendship Association Tissa Vitarana assured.

Leaders of Sri Lanka’s political parties, Association of Cuban Graduates’ representatives, and prominent university professors supported the campaign.

“Cuba has supported poor and rich countries in Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa during these months of the pandemic. COVID-19 made no concessions, and the Caribbean island was where it was most needed,” Vitarana added.

Cuban Ambassador to Sri Lanka Juana Ramos thanked “the support for the Nobel Prize nomination amid the U.S. hostilities and attempts to discredit the Cuban medical collaboration’s humanistic efforts.”

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the Henry Reeve Brigade has served in 39 countries as it has assisted over 550,900 people and saved 12,488 lives.  At least 43 out of 52 teams created to confront the pandemic are still providing health services in 33 nations.

The contingent specialized in disaster situations and severe epidemics was established by Fidel Castro in 2005.

Prensa Latina – Ahora – Radio Grito de Baire

by teleSur / age-JF

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Cuba and Burkina Faso celebrate 35 years of health cooperation

cubanew/acn 25 November 2020

SANTIAGO DE CUBA, Cuba, Nov 25 (ACN) Hundreds of lives saved, specialists trained and health indicators improved in Burkina Faso are the reasons for celebrating 35 years of Cuban medical cooperation in this sub-Saharan African country.

The head of the Cuban health brigade in that nation, Gustavo Frometa Diaz, told exclusively to the ACN that they perform around 60, 000 external consultations and 6,000 surgical procedures per year in the specialties of general surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedics, traumatology, urology and dentistry, in order to improve the quality of life of the Burkinabe people.

Frometa Diaz highlighted the results of the collaborators in the vaccination and rehabilitation programs, and he affirmed that the Cuban presence in that country includes teaching and technical and professional training of Burkinabe people, as well as the scholarship to study medicine in Cuba.

For their outstanding efforts in defense of life, Cubans are recognized by the government and health authorities of Burkina Faso, and mainly by the population, who claim their attention and care in health institutions.

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Cuba will support fight against Covid-19 in Palestine

Beirut, Nov 26 (Prensa Latina) Cuban ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Pellicer, assured today that his country will support Palestine in the fight against Covid-19 as it has always done with the least favored in the world.

A delegation from the Democratic Front of Palestine, made up of the leaders Ali Faisal and Abraham Al Nimer, visited the diplomatic legation on occasion of the fourth anniversary of the physical disappearance of Fidel Castro.

Faisal and Nimer confirmed their fidelity and loyalty to the leader of the Cuban Revolution, since they never forget their positions of defense to the cause of the Palestinian people.

They also thanked President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who follows the principles defended by Fidel Castro of solidarity and fraternity with sister and friendly nations.

In 2018, a program of 200 scholarships in four years was put into operation for Palestinians to study medicine in Cuba, added to a previous one of 10 places.

The head of the official mission told Prensa Latina that during the dialogue with the visitors, the issue of the process of obtaining by Cuban scientists an anti-Covid-19 vaccine which would be available to the Palestinian people came up.


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France demands EU to give up hostility towards Venezuela

Paris, Nov 25 (Prensa Latina) The Bolivarian Circle of Paris demanded today that the European Union (EU) abandon the aggressive policy imposed by the United States against Venezuela and respect the parliamentary elections in the South American country.

The EU does not want to acknowledge its mistakes of not acting in accordance with the respect to the constitutions of each country and acting without sovereignty, by submitting to the pressure of the US foreign policy and in particular of the Donald Trump government, it warned in a communiqué.

In this sense, he reiterated the right of Venezuelans to elect at the polls their representatives on December 6 in a legitimate and democratic manner through a secret and universal vote, even when other institutions or governments do not want to recognize it.

Personalities and citizens from all over the world demand respect for this right, which is embodied in the 1999 Constitution, approved in a referendum by a large majority and defended by the sovereign people and the Bolivarian government, underlined the organization’s solidarity with Latin American causes. According to the Bolivarian Circle of Paris, among the calls made in relation to these elections, those made to the EU and its institutions to leave aside arrogant and neo-colonialist positions and interference in Latin America stand out.

In his declaration, he specified that it is up to Venezuelans to resolve the problems, difficulties and differences of their country, without interference or unilateral and illegal external measures.

The Venezuelan people have a great feeling of homeland and are capable with their intelligence, conscience and autonomy to find solutions, he insisted.

Like the EU member states, Venezuela is a member of the UN, whose charter establishes the same duties and rights, so why this interference and unilateral actions against the South American country, he questioned.


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Uruguayan hospital reaches 100,000 eye surgeries with Cuban collaboration

cubanew/acn 23 November 2020

HAVANA, Cuba, Nov 23 (ACN) The Ojos de José Martí Hospital, in Uruguay, where Cuban specialists collaborate, celebrates today the 100,000th eye operation in the exercise of a visual health policy available to the entire population of that South American country.

The institution that emerged in the heat of Operation Miracle, in 2005, through which Uruguayans of all ages traveled to Havana to recover their vision for free, has stood since 2007 as a living monument of solidarity, according to Cubadebate website.

By highlighting the operation carried out last November 20, the director of the Team of Representatives of retirees and pensioners of Uruguay in the Social Security Bank, Sixto Amaro, evoked those beginnings when then-president Tabaré Vázquez promoted bilateral agreements with Cuba that favored low-income population groups.

As detailed, to date, 263,000 members of all Retiree Associations have been benefited from this procedure.

The Cuban Medical Brigade, which has been working alongside Uruguayan health personnel for 13 years, with Dr. José Hernandez as its representative, currently includes doctors, nurses, managing and services technicians, the text says.

They perform investigations, preoperative retinal, glaucoma, ocuplastia, refractive, optics, optometry consultations, etc, and actively participate in the search for patients affected by visual impairment throughout the Uruguayan territory and thus initiate a process of solution to their condition, recognized and socially valued by Uruguayans.

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Cuba to expand Internet coverage in 2021

cubanew/acn 24 November 2020

HAVANA, Cuba, Nov 24 (ACN) Cuba will expand in 2021 the capacities of the Internet connection in the country, according to Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Communications, Ana Julia Marine, reports the news agency Prensa Latina.

Currently, seven million Cubans access the Internet through different means, 4.2 million of them through mobile data and of the latter, 1.3 million work with fourth generation technology of cellular telephony (4G LTE).

Expanding this service is one of Cuba’s greatest challenges for next year, said Marine, specifying that, in addition to the 72 municipalities where this type of connection currently exists, in the next 12 months coverage will be expanded to 51 more.

The faster transition from analog to digital television will also contribute to this, since the 700-megahertz band (MHz), used in the deployment of 4G, will be freed up, she said.

However, she said, the infrastructure with 3G will also continue to expand in order to make possible with both services greater facilities for mobile data connection to all users in the country.

The Vice-Minister pointed out that another priority for 2021 is to extend the infrastructure and security capabilities of the telecommunications systems directly related to the Transfermóvil and EnZona online payment platforms.

These apps are in great demand by the population, and their use grew during the COVID-19 pandemic stage due to mandatory confinement and cessation of some face-to-face services, Marine said.

Statistics from the Cuban Telecommunications Company (Etecsa), refer that more than 10 million operations and more than two payments or transfers per second are made every month through Transfermóvil.

Cubans use it mainly for operations of transfers between magnetic cards, recharging of cellular lines and permanent Nauta accounts, payment of electricity, telephone and tax bills, as well as purchases in virtual stores.

Projections for 2021 also include achieving greater computerization coverage in public services such as civil status, identity, migration and other government procedures carried out by the population.

In addition, the Ministry, together with Etecsa, will implement a new form of wireless connection for Nauta Hogar coverage, said Marine.

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Cuba and Denmark to expand inter-parliamentary relations

cubanew/acn 24 November 2020

Folketingssalen 2018a.jpg

HAVANA, Cuba, Nov 24 (ACN) Roger Lopez, Cuban ambassador to Denmark, and Berthel Haarder, president of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Nordic Council (parliamentary body in charge of relations between Nordic nations), exchanged about inter-parliamentary relations between the two peoples.

In a meeting at the “Folketing”, seat of the Danish Parliament, the Cuban diplomat conveyed the desire to promote inter-parliamentary relations and cooperation as contribution to the development of ties between the two countries, Cubaminrex website published.

Lopez also explained to his host the Cuban democratic model and the approval of the new Constitution -adopted in 2019-, as a result of a widely participatory process, developed with broad transparency and freedom.
He also spoke about the bases of Cuba´s economic-social development strategy, which opens up the possibilities for developing commercial bonds with other countries and the desire to direct an investment process with different foreign entities in Cuba.

During the meeting, the diplomat pointed out the efforts of his nation despite the increase in the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States and its consequences for Cuban population.

He also discussed other aspects of the work of Cuban health professionals in the face of the pandemic, referred to international medical collaboration and the nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize to the Henry Reeve Brigade.
The Danish politician, a member of the Liberal Party, in opposition to the Government, agreed to promote ties of friendship between the parliaments of Cuba and Denmark.

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Díaz-Canel attends homage to Fidel Castro at the University of Havana

cubanew/acn 26 November 2020

HAVANA, Cuba, Nov 26 (ACN) The President of the Republic of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, led the political-cultural evening held this Wednesday night on the steps of the University of Havana in homage to Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, on the fourth anniversary of his physical disappearance.

To the University steps, witness of so many battles and where -Fidel always said it- he became a revolutionary, the grateful returned, not to regret his absence nor to remember his departure, but to celebrate his extraordinary life, to honor his imperishable example and legacy and to reaffirm him present and multiplied in millions.

Here we are today and we will always be, multiplying his strength and truth; this is not a tribute to an absent hero nor a posthumous tribute loaded with pain or sadness, it is a demonstration of life, said José Ángel Fernández Castañeda, president of the Cuban University Student Federation (FEU).

He recalled that “I am Fidel!” that sprouted from the people’s soul when they gave him a farewell, as an oath of fidelity, and added that four years later “we can say that we have been Fidel and we will continue to be so, each one in his position, in his task, in his disposition to do good, for Cuba and the world”.

The speaker emphasized that the leader of the Revolution is in everyone and everywhere: there where life is fought for and Cuban doctors bring health and hope, where sweat is left in the furrow to produce the food that the people need, in every young person and student who becomes the protagonist of his time.

Children and young people sang to the Commander, in the voice and feeling of Raúl Torres they all rode with Fidel on the Hill, gratitude and love became music and verse to renew the promise of never failing him and to reaffirm the sacred commitment to the Homeland, the Revolution and the future.

The images showed him as a child, as a young man, in his University, in the Moncada, in the Sierra, the victory of January and the epic of all these years, and the poets Héctor Gutiérrez and Aramís Padilla took away from the present cheers and a long ovation, by affirming that “nobody kills Fidel, nobody buries him, he is not tonight in the Sierra, because he is in the Escalinata”.

The evening ended with a standing ovation to the Comandante and that “Cuba, how beautiful is Cuba”, which has gone around the world, as well as a no less combative and emotionally charged day, which reached the entire nation, because there is not an inch of this land where that giant has not left an indelible mark.

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Cubans in Angola pay tribute to Fidel Castro

Due to the health restrictions imposed by Covid-19, the memorial ceremony gathered few people, but the youngest diplomats took advantage of the technology to compile in a video the expressions of affection and respect towards the statesman, whose legacy of universal scope receives this November 25 the deserved tribute in different parts of the world.

Ambassador Esther Armenteros led the ceremony at the headquarters of the Cuban legation in Luanda, where there was also no shortage of fresh roses to express admiration for the man who led the struggle for national liberation in Cuba and the process of social, political and economic emancipation after the triumph of the Revolution on January 1, 1959.

Among the multiple values of the Commander in Chief of the Cuban people, the participants in the meeting highlighted his anti-imperialist spirit and his vocation of solidarity towards the other peoples of the world in the field of education, health and other multiple spheres, under the premise of sharing what he has in an altruistic way, without asking for anything in return.

They also appreciated Fidel Castro’s role in the construction of socialism in Cuba, the confrontation with the economic, financial and commercial blockade, imposed by the United States government for more than half a century, as well as in the design and implementation of a foreign policy, based on the principles of sovereignty, self-determination and equality among states.