The Henry Reeve Brigade – Cuba

From the beginning of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, one of the basic principles of the Revolution began to manifest itself: -The manifestation was of course, that of:  Solidarity and Internationalism.

Solidarity with fellow Socialist brothers and sisters across the world, where their fight against the injustice being amassed against them, by Capitalist enterprise, required the help of other nations of equal endeavor.

Internationalism with fellow human beings whatever their persuasion, skin colour religion, or endeavor. For indeed catastrophic upheaval, pestilence, and natural disaster can strike any Nation, at any time. Therefore, Cuba will put its excellence at the forefront of any humanitarian help, which may be needed, through natural disaster, by any nation on Earth.

On May 21, 1960, the Chilean people were hit by a strong earthquake that caused great damage and loss in that country. The help of The Cuban people was not expected.   Cuba offered its first International Medical Aid, by sending a Medical Brigade along with 8 tons of medical materials, supplies, food, and clothing.                                                 This brigade accompanied the Chilean physician Dr. Salvador Allende, and from Cuba, the then President of the Medical College, Dr. Oscar Fernández Mell.

Since that first solidarity mission in 1960, Cuba has been present, along with more than 36 Emerging Medical Brigades, in more than 20 countries, that have been affected by different catastrophes such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, epidemics and volcanic eruptions.

Henry Reeve Mission   Cont.    2

1970sPeru was hit by an earthquake that left 80,000 people dead. Cuba, in less than 72 hours, sent a medical brigade.                                                                                                                                                                                                     –  A Brigade with 40 companions, and more than 10 tons of varying materials and supplies.    Then:
– A Brigade composed of 48 companions, and more than 10 tons of different materials, and supplies.   Then:
 – A Brigade composed of 61 companions, and 12 tons of various supplies and materials.

1985Mexico, affected by an earthquake which caused large loss of life, of up to 45.000 dead, and 30,000 injured.   – Cuba sent a Medical Brigade of 40 companions and 13 tons of diverse materials.   Cuba then formed and sent, a Medical Brigade of 39 companions, and 12 tons of diverse materials.  
Cuba then further organized and sent, a Medical Brigade of 108 companions and 50 tons of diverse material.

1990s – Iran is affected by earthquake that leaves large numbers of casualties.   Cuba organizes and sends a Medical Brigade with 39 companions and 39 tons of diverse materials. Medical Brigades sent were also sent to Honduras on November 3, 1998 and to Guatemala on 5 November 1998, and Nicaragua on the 11 November 1998.
The same month, November, saw the inauguration of the Integral Health Program (PIS), in which Cuba sent a Medical Brigade, made up of 447 health personnel.

  2000-2003Cuba provided assistance to Salvador, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras; affected by the Dengue Fever Epidemic, by sending Medical Brigades.
  . 2003Algeria affected by an earthquake, is helped by a Medical Brigade of 31 companions and 4.8 tons of diverse material.
  . Cuba sent two Medical Brigades with 24 and 25 companions respectively, and more than 12 tons of different materials to each country: Guyana, floods left a large number of people dead.   Cuba sent a Medical Brigade with 40 companions and 6 tons of materials.

 – 2005 – Contingent Henry Reeve inaugurated – (Cuba)
Constitution of the International Contingent of Specialized Physicians in Disaster situations and Serious Epidemics. Renamed by President Castro as the “Henry Reeve.”   Contingent, in honour of Brigadier General Henry Reeve, who fought for the Cuban Army, against Mexico, exactly 100 years prior.

August 2005: A medical brigade is formed to provide assistance, to the population affected by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. This offer of assistance from the Cuban Government was rejected by the United States Government. This brigade was called the “Henry Reeve” Medical Force, in memory of that exceptional young American fighter who died fighting for Cuba’s independence. A few days later, on September 19, the Commander-in-Chief decreed, that this organization, which even to this day, stands, unprecedented in the world as – The International Contingent of:
 Specialized Physicians in Disaster Situations and Serious Epidemics – “Henry Reeve”.

Henry Reeve Mission   Cont. 3

This Contingent, which would initially be composed of the members of the brigade, mobilized to assist the American population affected by Hurricane Katrina, would aim to cooperate immediately, with its specially trained personnel, with any country suffering from a catastrophe, especially those facing major occurrences of hurricanes, floods or other natural phenomena of that severity, in addition to epidemics that constitute real, natural and social disasters. 

Its fundamental objectives of work aim to achieve an extensive territorial deployment in disaster zones, with the establishment of Integral Campaign hospitals, capable of responding extensively to the welfare demands of the affected population. Immediate epidemiological coverage by the Brigade’s Integral General Physicians is another principle of contingent work.

Integral Campaign Hospitals have all the equipment and qualified personnel needed to have a surgical unit, intensive care unit, and advanced diagnostic services.  In addition, each hospital deployed becomes the operational Centre for the promotion of: Education – Disease Prevention – Recovery, and Rehabilitation of the population within the disaster area.

The Henry Reeve International Contingent of Specialised Physicians has been deployed to more than twenty nations, in its short history, and has provided medical assistance to more than 3.5 million people and saved more than 80,000 lives.

Results of the work of the “Henry Reeve” International Contingent of Specialised Physicians in Disasters and Serious Situations and Epidemics.

Since its establishment, the Henry Reeve Brigade has completed missions in 9 countries and has employed the services of 4,156 of its staff, of whom 2,840 are doctors.

 Stage 2005- 2009

  –  In Guatemala 245,000 people fled their homes, and 135 were killed, due toHurricane Stan’ in 2005.  687 employees, of these – 78 are doctors.

– In Peru.  (Earthquake): August 15, 2007 – March 25, 2008, 79 collaborators, including 41 doctors.    December 26, 2007,
54 collaborators, including 39 doctors, China (earthquake):  May 23 – June 9, 2008, 35 collaborators, including 18 physicians.

  4,619 people were saved.  
83,158 patients were treated in medical consultations.  
18,898 patients were surgically involved.   A total of

36 fully equipped Field Hospitals were installed, which were donated by –Cuba  32 to Pakistan, – 2 to Indonesia and – 2 to Peru. 30 patients affected by the Pakistan earthquake benefited from limb prostheses in Cuba.

Henry Reeve Mission   Cont. 4

Year 2010 CHILE (Earthquake) March 1 – November 12, 2010

The Brigade Henry Reeve in Chile, consisted of 78 employees throughout the engagement. 23 Doctors, 21 Bachelors of Nursing and 34 technicians. They arrived in two main groups: The first, on 1 March (26 specialists); The  second, on March 15 (33 specialists). Subsequently, another 19, support staff, were incorporated during the mission, to support some specialties.

They worked uninterrupted 259 days (more than 8 months) and 79,137 patients were treated, with a daily average of 312 per day. The main group were children from 0 to 9 years (8,312 patients, 17%), followed by people between the age of 50 and 59 (8,305 patients, 17%). 3,183 surgeries were performed, including 2,559 major, high-complexity surgery that included minimal access (daily average of 13 surgeries).   2,633 patients (10 hospitalized per day). 108,483 nursing procedures were performed, with a daily average of 4,027. Among the main reasons for medical care were: Respiratory diseases — Osteomioarticular system diseases, and – Digestive system diseases. The three conditions account for 61 percent of all health problems attended by Cuban doctors.

HAITI.   (Earthquake and Cholera Outbreak)

The Brigade in Haiti has 62 employees from the “Henry Reeve Brigade“, working in collaboration with the medical brigades of the comprehensive health program, as well as 90 ELAM graduates, Latin American from 18 countries, including Haiti.

 During the epidemic, the Cuban Medical Brigade, made up of 1300 cooperators, has cared for 22,123 people with cholera, with 253 deaths.  For every hundred cases served, a fatality rate of 1.1% is reported to have occurred.

 Currently, more than 55 thousand employees have provided care in 60 countries, thanks to the devotion and skill of the Henry Reeve Brigade of the Cuban Health System, under its Tenet – Health is a right of the people.

More than 89,000 people have been saved from death.  In 2010, Cuban doctors faced the Cholera outbreak in Haiti. They provided health services to more than 400,000 people and saved the lives of approximately 76,000.    On 26 May 2017,

The International Contingent of Specialized Physicians in Disaster situations and Serious Epidemics “Henry Reeve,” received the Dr. LEE Jong-wook Award from the World Health Organization at the ceremony of the 70th World Health Assembly. The award was in recognition of its work in emergency medicine.   The Ebola outbreak in Africa. – As a result of cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), in less than two weeks, more than 5,000 Cuban doctors and nurses, members of the Henry Reeve Contingent, volunteered to combat the epidemic.

 More than 500 health professionals were selected and trained, and finally, 256 participated. The Contingent has been present in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea Conakry Since its establishment, the Contingent has developed 20 medical missions specializing in the confrontation of natural disasters.

 Henry Reeve Mission   Cont. 5

Up to and including the 10 August 2020:  The Contingent has attended 46 nations in Latin America, and the Caribbean, it has been present in 22 states worldwide, and in Asia and Oceania – in five countries.  In Sub-Saharan Africa in 13 nations. In North Africa and the Middle East, it has attended three countries. In Europe in three states.  More than 9,000 Cuban health professionals have participated in these missions. Health care has been provided to approximately 4 million people.

Flooding in Guatemala (2005), Bolivia (2006), Belize (2007), Mexico (2007), El Salvador (2009), Chile (2015), Peru (2017), Sierra Leone (2017).

Earthquakes in Pakistan (2005), Indonesia (2006), Peru (2007), China (2008), Chile (2010), Nepal (2015), Ecuador 2016)

Hurricanes in Haiti (2016), Fiji Islands (2016), Dominica (2017), Mexico (2017) and Mozambique (2019). Its action enabled, with the participation of more than 4,000 health professionals, to serve more than 3 million people.    The contingent’s work is highlighted following the impact of the October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, which caused the loss of 70,000 human lives, 100,000 injured and 3 million homeless people. Over a period of nearly eight months, more than 2,000 Cuban health professionals treated more than 1,700,000 patients. More than 14,000 surgery operations were performed, more than 166,000 survivors received specialized rehabilitation treatment and saved the lives of more than 2,000.

Participation in the confrontation with COVID-19. During the pandemic, 52 medical brigades have left for 39 countries. 43 Brigades are currently active in 33 countries. The total number of employees who have served in the coVID-19 confrontation was 3,875, and 2,523 are currently active.   Cuba’s Heroes have saved more than 12,480 lives and cared for more than 550,960 people.

US Democratic Senators Submit Bill to End the Blockade of Cuba                        TeleSur |   Friday, 5 February 2021

U.S. Democratic Senator and Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Ron Wyden introduced a bill to end Cuba’s blockade on Friday 5 February.

“The U.S.-Cuba Trade Act of 2021 would repeal the major statutes that codify sanctions against Cuba, including the Helms-Burton Act and the Cuban Democracy Act, as well as other provisions that affect trade, investment, and travel with Cuba. It would also establish normal trade relations with the country,” the Senator explained in a press release.

Wyden also recognizes that the U.S. blockade in Cuba “is an artifact from the 1960s.” The Senate Finance Committee chairman also remarked that “to continue this outdated, harmful policy of isolation would be a failure of American leadership.”

The legislation would eliminate any prohibition on limiting annual remittances; establish all travel guarantees for U.S. citizens to visit Cuba; remove provisions restricting trade and other relations with the Caribbean country and legalize telecommunication services between both nations, among others.

The bill was co-sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (VT), Richard Durbin (IL), and Jeff Merkley (OR). In a press statement, Sen. Wyden called the embargo an outdated policy and stated that “Congress has a moral and economic obligation to the American people to improve U.S.-Cuban relations as swiftly and safely as possible.” If passed, the bill would repeal the Trading with the Enemy Act and the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, and it would amend certain sections of the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act and the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. In 2017, Sen. Wyden introduced similar legislation.

In an interview with Univision, Juan González, the White House National Security Council Senior Director for the Western Hemisphere, stated that President Joe Biden seeks to lift remittance restrictions and allow those in the U.S. to travel to Cuba.

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80"><a href=""><strong>Henry Reeve Mission</strong></a><strong>   Cont. </strong> <strong> 6          Author J.D.</strong>Henry Reeve Mission   Cont.   6          Author J.D.

What is wrong with people?  Why does arrogance remain so obtrusively supreme in certain countries, whilst in others, humility is abundantly provided freely, by the people of another nation?                                             It never ceases to amaze. However, if there is no definitive answer to that question, then perhaps it can be answered in a more Superlative way by asking the question, can it be the difference, between the World Orders of, Capitalism and Socialism? – Or more precisely, the difference, between what each of these World Orders represents.

Capitalism & Neoliberalism. –  The actions of stealing, and taking, – without Asking.

Socialism. –   The actions of giving, and sharing, – without being Asked.

Capitalist America, over many decades, has tried to persecute and coerce, its smaller Socialist neighbour Cuba, into submission.   In a selfish and deliberate act of ‘expurgation by intimidation, the US;   has tried to impose its will, onto this smaller Socialist country, – a highly unfair act of illegal attrition.

America, with all of its immense wealth, and its purported stature, sees fit, to hold sway over another, much smaller country, -Smaller by physical comparison, but certainly, not by honour, -and in doing so, it dictates and imposes, its will upon that country, purely because of the differing political persuasions of both countries. America of course, classes itself as a self-righteous Capitalist country, much the same as does, Conservative Britain. They look down their nose at Socialism including that within Venezuela, and Ecuador.

Neither Cuba, nor any other nation state, should be subjected to acts of intimidation or coercion, by another country.   Especially, because of its political acuity.  Any country, or Nation State, is entitled to exist unfettered, under its own self-determination. That any country, under its own democratic endeavors, should determine by a consensus of its population, Who will govern it, should be just enough reason, for it to be accepted by other countries, as an equal,  both in status, and in world standing.

For decades, Cuba has exceeded its fulfilment to its ‘world standing.  ’ It has achieved its outstanding results by showing its benevolence towards the rest of the nations of earth.   By doing it with complete impartiality, and in so doing, has carried it out, without notion of malice towards any person or any Nation.    Cuba also provides for other peoples in distress, -wherever in the world they may be, -their disaster relief programme, at Cuba’s own expense, and supplying its own countrymen and women to do it.    – Does that sound like a Nation which needs to be admonished and punished?  Doesn’t it rather determine, without question, that Cuba, has more than committed itself to the cause of, ‘the brotherhood of mankind’?

Many other nations have chosen to unite with the US to exploit Cuba and other Socialist countries, by applying punitive blockades and embargos upon them.   The US has even deployed agents and troops, in order to help overthrow the legitimate governments, and then install puppet governments of their own predilection, normally those of Right-wing Capitalist diversity.

Isn’t it time to cut tiny Cuba with its massive heart, a little bit of slack?   These people have been neglected and suffered food shortages, rationing, and austerity, for at least five decades. Even their motor cars are from five to six decades ago, lovingly kept on the roads by Cuban skill and ingenuity.  Yet, despite all of the belligerence levelled against it, Cuba, can still find it in her heart to offer help to the rest of the world, at its own expense, – including to its malevolent antagonists, -in the form of medical care and benevolence.

When a British passenger ship was stricken off the coast of Florida at the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020. It put out a mayday for help to seek medical help for many of its passengers, who had been struck down by the killer virus. It received no such offer of help, – except, from little Cuba.  The passengers and crew of the MS Blenheim, and the inhabitants of many other countries in which the expertise of one of the finest health services in the world has been provided say, – Thank God for Cuba

 It isn’t a crime for anyone to adhere to Socialism. Everyone has a right to follow their political ideal. The only people who besmirch Socialism are Capitalist and Neoliberal. They are terrified of Socialism.   Under Socialism, the Capitalists and Neoliberals of the world, would be forced to pay their taxes just like the rest of us.  They don’t like that!   – Therefore, they fight against Socialism. Cuba, Venezuela. and other Socialist countries, do not need pernicious sanctions.  They need free trade facilities, and left alone, to live their lives in peace. – Along with every other Nation. Surely, we have greater battles to fight Together. – Against greater enemies of Mankind


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