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A country’s embrace awaits

medicos italia recibimientoThinking “Here we are,” “It’s up to me,” and “These are my people,” Cuban doctors arrived in Italy a little more than two months ago to touch the pain, to help and survive the catastrophe the coronavirus created in an already battered world.

Our medical brigades leave a trail of love wherever they go, where healing is hard and most necessary, where others do not wish to dirty their hands.

They have the simple honor of being the only doctors and nurses many of the unfortunate “nobodies” have ever seen, offering the miracle of survival. And they have the blessed vocation of looking into the eyes of the sick, of knowing how to listen to them even in another language, of touching them where it hurts, of surprising them with their warm treatment, of restoring hope when it was lost.

These lines are motivated by the arrival of those who left for Lombardy at a time when the pandemic had only recently reached our country, and Cuba looked on in amazement at the desolate media images of Italy and Spain.

Accustomed as we are to Cuba arriving where health care is urgently needed, it did not take us by surprise that when Italy called, in dire need of personnel to fight the virus, the Henry Reeve Brigade responded.

Beyond the figures representing the Cuban brigade’s contribution in northern Italy – some 5,500 medical consultations, 3,668 nursing services and 210 discharges from 36 doctors, 15 nurses and a logistics specialist – they leave their love that neither the people who were helped, or the world, will ever forget, even as imperialism insists on its efforts to discredit our heroes.

Throughout the planet, more than 30 brigades, with more than 2,500 health professionals, are fighting the pandemic. Those who return to their homeland today bring home intense experiences of risking their lives, when nothing was more important than saving others.

Voices are being raised around the world, proposing that the Henry Reeve Contingent be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The outcome remains to be seen, but there is another prize that cannot be ignored; the reward that distinguishes them for offering the greatest thing their country has: our humanism.

The embrace of their people awaits them.

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