Cuban doctors helping COVID-19 victims around the world are being praised for their heroism and expertise for going into the most disadvantaged and heavily communities, mostly in Africa.
It is not only in South Africa that Cuban doctors are taking up positions on the frontlines of the battle against Covid-19, but in Zimbabwe, Angola and more than 17 other countries.
What is truly heroic about this internationalism is that these doctors are targeting low income and medically underserved communities. What is more, these doctors often work under the harshest conditions, live simply and earn very little.
Cuban doctors volunteer for these positions out of a commitment to revolutionary solidarity and saving lives, no one forces them into such service. Often they only receive 10-25 percent of the salaries paid by the host country while the rest goes to the Cuban government, but they make that sacrifice as they recognise that the remainder goes to strengthening Cuba’s own systems at a time when the country remains under a suffocating economic embargo imposed by the US.
In the case of the Cuban doctors who recently arrived in South Africa, the Cuban government is paying their salaries, and South Africa only covers their transport, accommodation and meals.
Cuban doctors frequently quote their icon Che Guevara when he said: “The life of a single human being is worth a million times more than the property of the richest man.”