top of page
  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Momentum for a Nobel Peace Prize award to Cuban medical brigades grows

From the famous such as Alice Walker and Noam Chomsky, to 27,000 in Greece and the over 30,000 who signed the Cuba Nobel Prize Campaign's petition, calls for honouring the Henry Reeve Brigade are mounting.

Cuban medical brigade arrives in Italy.

Alice Walker, Noam Chomsky, Oliver Stone, Lula, Danny Glover, Mark Ruffalo, Rafael Correa and thousands of other people and groups are part of a growing movement to see the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the Cuban International Medical Brigade (called the Henry Reeve Brigade). 27,000 people in Greece alone have signed petitions in support.

It is very easy to see why. Cuban internationalist medical brigades have saved over 80,000 lives since 2005 and have helped to fight COVID-19 in 27 countries so far. They have been on the front lines even at the most perilous points of the pandemic as when it was at its terrible heights in Italy.

As Alice Walker put it "The selflessness, courage and solidarity of the Cuban doctors fighting Covid-19 is unparalleled and deserving of the world's most prestigious peace prize."

The United States, of course, has attempted to malign the Cuban doctors and some right wing governments, such as the coup government in Bolivia or the far right Bolsonaro administration in Brazil, have ejected Cuban brigades to the harm and regret of their people.

But the truth about the brigades is out there. Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980 for his resistance to the Argentinian military dictatorship, penned a letter to the Norwegian Committee of the Nobel Peace Prize in which they note:

It is worth remembering that the first humanitarian medical mission took place in Algeria in 1963. Since then, Cuban humanitarian missions have spread across the four continents and have a unique character in pointing out that international solidarity is possible in times of ode to selfishness.
There are plenty of historical examples of Henry Reeve Cuban International Medical Brigade’s commitment to the pursuit of a dignified life for all. On May 31, 1970, Peru, a country which lies in the Pacific Ocean in the South American continent, was hit by a 7.9 earthquake on the Richter scale, when more than 80,000 people died, and thousands of families were homeless. More than 100,000 Cuban citizens donated blood and one of the Cuban Medical Brigades landed in Ancash. It is worth noting, however, that Peru did not have diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cuba.
During the decades that followed, Cuba freely sent medical brigades to several countries hit by natural disasters: in the city of Pisco (Peru), in 2007, Cuban doctors, in solidarity with the victims of the earthquake, performed 228,000 medical appointments and 2,000 complex surgeries. In Haiti, the participation and dedication of the Cuban doctors during the cholera crisis let the world ashamed for not providing such solidarity. In Africa, they were heroes in the fight against Ebola, and in Latin America and the Caribbean they healed thousands who suffered from blindness.
Brigades are present in more than 60 countries. The International Contingent of Physicians Specialized in Disasters and Major Epidemics operates in 24 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, in 27 African countries, including the Republic of Togo, Algeria and South Africa, two in the Middle East, and seven in Asia, including Indonesia, Qatar, Kuwait, China, and Saudi Arabia.

This legacy is carried on now during the global pandemic. In fact "over 2,000 doctors, nurses and medical professionals from Cuba have been collaborating in 27 countries affected by the coronavirus, saving thousands of lives by putting their own wellbeing at risk." These included Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Cape Verde, Dominica, Grenada, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Jamaica, Kuwait, Mexico, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Peru, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, Suriname, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela.

Chomsky, in backing the prize, said outright that “Cuba is the only country to have shown genuine internationalism during this coronavirus crisis.”

You can add your name to the over 30,000 who have signed the Cuba Nobel Prize Campaign's petition alone at:



bottom of page