By Caribbean News Global contributor
HAVANA, Cuba, (teleSUR) — The latest contingent of Cuban Henry Reeve Brigade medical professionals departed the island for Azerbaijan to assist health authorities in combating COVID-19. Azerbaijani health authorities report more than 22,000 positive cases and almost 300 deaths from the new coronavirus.
The departure of the 115 professionals and technicians from Havana comes as another contingent in Italy prepares for its return home. Hundreds of people gathered at Belinguer Park in Northern Italy’s Turin, in an emotional thank you to Cuba and members of the brigade.
Thousands of Cuban health professionals belonging to the Henry Reeve medical brigade are working in more than 20 countries around the world to contain the spread of the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
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The majority of medical brigades are collaborating in countries of the Caribbean (650 professionals) – though this latest brigade to Azerbaijan will bring the total number of professionals to 771 in the Europe and Middle East region; 621 brigadiers are in Africa, and there are 116 in Central and South America.
Founded by the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, in 2005, the Henry Reeve International Brigade, which specializes in disaster situations and epidemics has provided assistance in over 30 countries, treating millions of people.
An international campaign and website with hundreds of organizational and individual endorsers say that Cuba’s generous acts of medical solidarity, amid a decades-long US blockade affecting Cuba’s own ability to acquire medicine and equipment, is deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Joining the call for the prize has been US anti-war organization Code Pink, actor Danny Glover, Argentine Nobel Peace Prize Winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, US presidential candidate for the Party of Socialism and Liberation, Gloria La Riva, and Rage Against the Machine rockstar Tom Morello.