To the Nobel Peace Prize Committee:
In the midst of this global pandemic unprecedented in modern history, there is one group from a small country that has provided hope and inspiration to people around the world: the Cuban doctors and nurses who are part of the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade now working in 22 countries to fight Covid-19. In recognition of their magnificent solidarity and selflessness, saving thousands of lives by putting their own lives at risk, we urge you to award them this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
Henry Reeve was a 19-year-old American who left his home in Brooklyn, New York to join the Cuban struggle for liberation against the Spanish in the late 1800s. The Brigade named after him was formed by the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro in 2005 after the US rejected an offer to send 1,500 Cuban doctors to provide assistance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Since its formation, the medical personnel of the Brigade, now composed of 7,400 voluntary healthcare workers, have been on the front lines providing disaster relief. Before COVID-19, it had treated more than 3.5 million people in 21 countries ravaged by the world's worst natural disasters and epidemics. An estimated 80,000 lives have been saved as a direct result of the Brigade's front-line emergency medical treatments.
One of their most heroic acts was in 2014-2015, when the Brigade sent over 400 doctors, nurses and other health workers to West Africa to confront the dangerous Ebola pandemic, working in regions where healthcare facilities and even basic infrastructure such as roads and communications systems were minimal. This team constituted the single largest medical operation on the ground in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. In recognition of the work of these specialists, the World Health Organization (WHO) awarded them the prestigious Dr. Lee Jong-Wook Memorial Prize for Public Health in 2017.
The Henry Reeve Brigade is only one part of the Cuban medical system, coordinated by the Cuban Ministry of Public Health, which has sent more healthcare workers overseas than the entire World Health Organization.
Now that the world is suffering a devastating pandemic, the Brigade is working globally to try to stop the spread and care for those who are sick. The world was so moved to see the Cubans going off to the most infected part of Italy, Lombardy, to help save lives. As of May 1, over 1,450 Cuban medical personnel were fighting COVID-19 in 22 countries: Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Cape Verde, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, Suriname, Togo and Venezuela.