Labour Member of parliament Navendu Mishra became the third British MP to formally nominate Cuba & their Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. Despite being subject to many American sanctions that hindered their service even during COVID times, the brigade has been combatting COVID-19 27 countries. Besides this, they has saved over 80,000 lives since 2005 and are working tirelessly for disenfranchised people in the global community.
The Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade was established on 19th September 2005 as a response to the damage and devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, United States. The Brigade was named after a young US citizen, Henry Reeve, who joined Cubans fighting for independence from Spain in 1868. He has since become a symbol for international solidarity, something the Henry Reeve International Brigade itself stands for. Their founding principals are:
- health as a human right
- the right to peace and life
- humanism – affirming dignity, equality and social justice
- solidarity – collaboration and respect between peoples regardless of politics or religion
Navendu Mishra MP was one of the first signatories from the UK to support the call for the Nobel to be awarded to Cuba. More than 3,6000 people have signed the petition since- which is publicly available to all- and is nearing its goal of 40,000. In his nomination, Navendu Mishra asserted that their “inspirational internationalism” deserves recognition as over the past fifteen years, “10,000 members of the Henry Reeve International Brigade have saved 90,000 lives during natural disasters and health emergencies…it has been truly inspirational to watch how Cuba has assisted other countries in the fight against Covid-19.”
‘It truly has been marvellous over the past few months to see the response from Cuba at this time and show what can be done when a country shares it’s expertise and it’s resources. The Nobel Peace Prize would be a welcome acknowledgement of the efforts of these Cuban medics.’
American campaign against Cuba
The US has continuously led campaigns to undermine Cuba’s sovereignty and positive work since the overthrow of the US-backed Batista regime and the takeover by the Socialists. Most recently, it had been undermining and taking action against doctors abroad working against the COVID-19 crisis.
The Trump Administration in Washington accused the Cuban Government of treating the doctors as “modern day slaves”, stating that they are overworked, coerced and underapaid. The report did not note the differences in pay respective to the in cost and standard of living in the US and Cuba. It also did not note how the American embargo have affected the economy of Cuba.
In their response Cuban officials and analysts who closely studied the work of medical missions accused the US of creating false claims and narratives as a cover to its strangling of the Cuban economy and other leftist regimes.
According to Cuba’s ministry of foreign affairs, Cuba has sent more 6000,000 doctors, nurses and technicians to more than 160 countries since the 1960s.