Get out Cuba’s way

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A Cuban medical brigade prepares to fly to a distant country to save lives that would otherwise be lost in the coronavirus pandemic.

Introduction by Kaleem Muhammad

It has been nearly six weeks since shelter-in-place and quarantine orders were placed over the United States and much of the rest of the world because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Since then, countries all over the world have been pummeled by this outbreak with more than 3.3 million confirmed cases and 235,000 deaths worldwide. 

Of these countries, the United States of America is the leader in total cases, active cases and total deaths. Additionally, the number of infected citizens continues to rise daily. This is the reason why any method that can help to stop the spread of this deadly virus must be employed as soon as possible.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Cuba, a country that is historically known for its efforts to medically aid other nations in times of need, has stepped up yet again, offering to send medical brigades to countries worldwide. These countries, which include Italy, Haiti, Jamaica, Angola, South Africa, Argentina, Qatar and many others, have accepted the Cuban doctors because they realize that whether they agree with Cuba’s political policies or not, accepting Cuba’s medical assistance is the wisest decision for their people amid the deadly COVID-19 outbreak. 

The U.S., however, despite being the most adversely affected by the virus of all of the countries in the world, has decided to deny Cuba’s efforts to help because they do not agree with the political views of Cuba’s government. What the U.S. cannot seem to realize is that people are still dying every day and that disagreeing with Cuba’s political views should not interfere with their desire to help their citizens. 

Most importantly, the United States government must realize that if they want to stop the spread of COVID-19 they must get out of Cuba’s way.

Kaleem Muhammad, 14, is a student at the Sankofa Homeschool Community and a member of the Mass Emphasis Children’s History and Theater Company since he was 5 years old. He can be reached at

Embracing Cuba’s heroic efforts to eradicate the coronavirus

After learning that the United States of America officially confirmed that they have overtaken China and Italy with the most cases of the coronavirus, this fatal news will result in an increased level of panic, anger and uncertainty.

Because this alarming news coincides with a statement from the White House that parts of the nation’s labor force could be returning to work, everyday families and communities appear open to receiving assistance from quarters regardless of additional factors beyond the realm and parameters of health and medicine. 

For that reason, a very interesting dynamic to watch very carefully is how people living inside U.S. borders who have relatives and friends who have either contracted or tragically succumbed to the virus respond when they discover that France and Italy – two trusted U.S. NATO allies – decided that they do not have the luxury of either rejecting or ignoring assistance from the government of Cuba to fight COVID-19 in their nations.

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While confined to their homes glued to their televisions, computers and cellphones, families and communities inside U.S. borders have witnessed French parliamentary leader Andre Chassaigne urging his government to join those who have requested Cuban support, and 52 Cuban doctors and nurses have arrived in Italy to treat their citizens who have contracted COVID-19. 

These developments come on the heels of the governments of Great Britain and Northern Ireland reaching a diplomatic agreement with Cuba, which resulted in a cruise ship, the MS Breamar of the Fred Olsen cruise line, docking on their shores where established health measures were successfully implemented. The actions taken by Cuban medical personnel were in compliance not only with their Ministry of Public Health, but with those of the World Health Organization (WHO). 

. . . a step in concert with the other 45 nations worldwide who have made a formal request for Interferon Alpha 2B, based on its proven effectiveness as a form of treatment. 

These breakthroughs and developments have created a climate and atmosphere for truth and justice seekers to reflect on what transpired inside U.S. borders back in 2001 during 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Cuban government offered to send medical personnel to New York City immediately after the 9/11 attacks, and four years later they offered to deploy 1,500 medical personnel to the Gulf Region after Hurricane Katrina. Those doctors and nurses would have remained there until the public hospitals were back to their normal function.

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For that reason, an aggressive blend of history, morality and integrity push us to emphatically demand the following:

1. Urge the White House and U.S. Congress to grant the Henry Reeves Medical Brigade – Cuban medical personnel – permission to deploy an emergency brigade to come to the U.S. immediately to provide hands on medical assistance in hospitals, clinics and other emergency installations.

2. Urge the White House and U.S. Congress to grant Henry Reeves Medical Brigade permission to deploy an emergency brigade to come to the U.S. immediately to conduct hands-on training of U.S. medical personnel whose experience dealing with pandemics like COVID-19 is limited.

3. Urge the White House and U.S. Congress to grant the American Medical Association, National Medical Association and Black Nurses Association permission to work in conjunction and harmony with the Henry Reeves Medical Brigade once they arrive on U.S. soil to assist in the fight to eradicate COVID-19.

4. Urge the White House and U.S. Congress to allow COVID-19 victims on U.S. soil access to Interferon Alpha 2B, which was developed by Cuba’s Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. This measure would be a step in concert with the other 45 nations worldwide who have made a formal request for Interferon Alpha 2B, based on its proven effectiveness as a form of treatment. 

An extended and heartfelt thank you and special acknowledgement of Banbose Shango, retired national co-chair of the National Network on Cuba, A-APRP (All-African People’s Revolutionary Party) GC; Zaki Baruti, Universal African American Peoples Organization; Brother Jermaine Shabazz, outreach and social media liaison for the Foundation of Black America; Rev. Marjani Dele and Empress Phile Chinonesu, founder and president general of the National Million Women’s March and Universal Movements; Mr. Jorden Giger and Mr. J. Kweku Lumumba of Konbit Sitwayen Sosyalis Pou Sove Ayiti for their distribution of this groundbreaking appeal to their networks and supporters; and Professor Fahima Seck for media outreach. 

A very special thank you to Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell and Rev. Dr. Albert M. Pennybacker for their strategic advice, encouragement and access to some invaluable contacts. A special thanks and appreciation to Ms. Tejvir Grewall for the crucial role that she played in the outreach process. Lastly a warm and loving thank you to Dr. Lucille Norville Perez for sharing her insight and wisdom concerning how appeals and resolutions can be utilized as vehicles for fundamental change. 

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Organization of African Doctors, Latin American School of Medical Sciences, Havana, Cuba

Dr. Lucille Norville Perez, Former President, National Medical Association, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Abdul Alim Muhammad, Director, Abundant Life Health Attainment Center, Mitchellville, Md.

Rev. James Winkler, President and General Secretary, National Council of Churches (Rev. Winkler and the National Council of Churches endorse the overall appeal with the exception of the fourth demand, calling for the U.S. government to grant COVID-19 victims access to the Interferon Alpha 2B treatment.) 

Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, Former General Secretary, National Council of Churches, Chautauqua Institute, Department of Religion

Rev. Dr. Albert M. Pennybacker, Former Assistant Secretary General, National Council of Churches, Retired Senior Pastor, University Christian Church, Fort Worth, Texas

The Honorable Samia Yaba Nkrumah, Kwame Nkrumah Pan African Center, Accra, Ghana

Sen. Malika Sanders Fortier, Alabama State Senate, District 23

The Honorable Calvin Hawkins, City Council at Large, Prince George’s County, Md.

Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, Ph.D., U.S. House of Representatives, Georgia’s 11th District

Nana Kwado Boafo (Rev. Willie Wilson), Pastor Emeritus, Union Temple Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.

Pastor Graylan Ellis-Hagler, Senior Pastor, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, D.C.

Rev. Dr. Madeline McClenney, Exodus Foundation, Charlotte, N.C.

U.S. National Network on Cuba Friendship and Solidarity

Mr. Walter Lippmann, Editor in Chief, Cuba News

The Honorable Alice Windom, First Wave of African Americans Repatriates to Ghana, St. Louis, Mo.

Dorie Ladner, Mukasa Dada (formerly Willie Ricks), Distinguished SNCC Alum

Ms. Aida Rodriguez, Actress, Producer, Writer, Commentator, Los Angeles, Calif.

Mumia Abu Jamal, MOVE Supporter and Defender, Former President, Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, U.S. Prisoner at War

Russell Maroon Shoatz, Former Black Panther, Author of “Maroon The Implacable,” U.S. Prisoner at War

Mr. Jim Lafferty, Executive Director Emeritus, National Lawyers Guild

Alliance For Global Justice USA

Mr. Damani Aquil, Regional Council for Africans in the Americas

Mr. Zaki Baruti, Universal African American People’s Organization, St. Louis, Missouri

Dr. Leonard Jeffries, President, World African Democratic Union, USA

All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party (A-APRP)

Dr. Gale Frazier, National Black Agenda Consortium, USA

Mr. Maurice Carney, Executive Director, Friends of the Congo

Kwame Wildon Wilburg, National Board Member, Friends of the Congo

Sis. Ama Mazana, Ph.D., Afrocentricity International, Philadelphia, Penn.

Mr. Bokar Ture, Pan African Council, Paris, France

Molefi Asante, Ph.D., Temple University, Philadelphia, Penn.

Bernida Thompson, Ed.D., Director and Founder, Roots Activity Learning Center, Roots Public Charter School, Washington, D.C.

Chenzira Davis-Kahina, Ph.D., Per Ankh M Smai Tawi, Virgin Islands, Caribbean

Kelly Harris, Ph.D., Director of Africana Studies, Seton Hall University, New Jersey

Greg Carr, Ph.D., Department of Afro American Studies, Editor in Chief, The Compass

Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations, Washington, D.C.

Robert White, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Criminal Justice and Department of Political Science, Alabama State University, Montgomery, Ala., Senior Pastor, Montgomery City of Refuge

Sandy Placido, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, History Department, Queens College, CUNY Dominican Studies Scholar, The City College of New York

Anthony Browder, Ph.D., Director of IKG Cultural Resources, ASA Restoration Project, Washington, D.C.

Marc Lamont Hill, Ph.D., Professor of Media Studies and Urban Education, Temple University, Philadelphia, Penn.

Isaac Saney, Ph.D., Director and University Teaching Fellow, Transition Year Program, Dalhousie University, and Adjunct Professor, Department of History, St. Mary’s University (for identification purposes only), Canada

Professor Fahima Patricia Seck, MSW, LISW

Cecile Johnson, CEO, African Development Plan, Human Rights Defender, Professor of International Law, Co-Facilitator, Afro Descendant Institute of Human Rights, Afro Descendant Nation, Confederated USA, Chicago, Ill.

Ms. Kadija George, General Secretary, African Writers Abroad, England

African Awareness Association, Richmond, Va.

Mr. Omowale Adewale, GrassRoots Artists Movement, New York, N.Y.

Attorney Faya Rose Toure, Committee Chair, SOS Movement for Justice and Democracy, Selma, Ala.

Mr. Gerald Pereira, Organization for the Victory of the People of Guyana, Guyana, South America

Riba Kelsey, M.D., Atlanta, Ga.

Dr. Malik Shabazz, Author, Attorney, Organizer

Malik Yakini, Detroit Activist

Rev. Mark Thompson, Former Host, Make It Plain, XM Sirius Radio

Sis. Empress Phile Chinonesu, Founder and President General, National Million Woman March and Universal Movements

Sis. Pam Africa, Minister of Confrontation, MOVE Organization, Philadelphia, Penn.

Sis. Ramona Africa, Minister of Information, MOVE Organization, Philadelphia, Penn.

Munirah El Bomani, Chairwoman Pro Tem, Black Human Rights Campaign, Newark, N.J.

Shelah Harper

Asia Adams, Founder, Save Our Children Foundation

Chairman Fred Hampton Jr., Chairman, POCC

Andrew Johnson, Founder, North American Water and Wellness Institute

Imhotep Chinoesu, Founder, Men of Valor

Darryl Jordan, Director, EMEAC/Cass Commons, Detroit, Mich.

Angela Sayles, Founder, The Institution of Financial Unity 

J. Kweeku Lumumba, External Relations Coordinator, Konbit Sitwayen Sosyalis Pou Sove Ayiti (Socialist Citizens Working Together to Save Haiti)

Attorney Ezili Danto, Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network

Mr. Joe Beasley, Joe Beasley Foundation, Southern Regional Director Emeritus, Rainbow Push Coalition

Bilal Sunni Ali, Southern Artists Media Education Connection Association

Norma Jackson, Ph.D., President, World Development Alliance, Columbia, S.C.

Carolina Peace Resource Center, Columbia, S.C.

Mr. Justin Figueroa, President, Fig Tree Foundation, Newark, N.J.

Wilmer Leon, Ph.D., Inside the Issues, XM Satellite Radio, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Willie and Mary Ratcliff, Publisher and Editor, San Francisco BayView National Black Newspaper, San Francisco, Calif.

Mr. Rock Newman, Executive Producer and Host, Rock Newman Show, WHUT Howard University, Washington, D.C.

DJ BuddyFolks, What Good Is a Song? The Friday Night Drum, WRFG, Atlanta, Ga.

Mr. Louis Wolf, Co-Author and Co-Publisher, Covert Action Magazine, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Sam P.K. Collins, MPP, Founder and Host, AllEyesOnDC, Washington, D.C.

Dwann Brown, Radio Host, Hotep-ish, Los Angeles, Calif.

Ms. Ericka Blount Danois, Award Winning Author of “Love Peace and Soul: Behind the Scenes of America’s Favorite Dance Show Soul Train: Classic Moments,” Baltimore, Md.

Sankofa HomeSchool Community, Washington, D.C.

Jania Otey, Esq., Kids and Culture Camp, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Jay Davis, United Teachers of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif.

Ms. Esther Iverem, Creator and Executive Producer, On the Ground News Productions, Los Angeles, Calif.

Rabiah Nur, Spring of Light

Sis. Luci Murphy, Artistic Director, ONE DC, Black Workers Center Chorus

Sis. Elise Bryant, Labor Heritage Foundation

Mr. Sinclair Skinner, Co-Founder, Bilimari Inc., Harare, Zimbabwe

Executives for Georgia Green Party: Denice Traina, Co-Chair; Hugh Esco, Secretary; Leroy Bartell, Treasurer

Mr. D.A. Blevins, San Diego Urban Warriors Inc., San Diego, Calif.

Mr. Anthony Muhammad, Sankofa Youth Development Program Inc., Birmingham, Ala.

Dr. Kwame-Osagyefo Kalimara, New Afrikan Peoples Organization and Malcolm X Grass Roots Movement. Georgia Chapter

Ms. Vivian Shaku, Founder, House of Globalization, Atlanta, Ga.

Emmanuel Cannady, Black Lives Matter, South Bend, Ind.

Ms. Cynthia Charles, Billionaire Beauty LLC, Baltimore, Md.

Dr. Mel Eugene Butler, Maker to Markets LLC

Mr. Kiko Burroughs, Delano Brothers Trucking LLC, N.J.

Writing on the Walls Youth Literacy Program, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Sam Anderson, Cuban Solidarity and Support Pioneer, New York City

Yao Fulmore, Kwanzaa Associate Inc., Virginia

Dr. Kelechi Egwim, Executive Director, Appeal Inc., Washington, D.C.

Zahir Muhammad, President, DeMatha High School Black Student Union

Mr. Roy Ageymang, Director of the Award Winning Film “Mugabe: Villain Or Hero,” London, England

Akua Holt, Pan African Journal, Pacifica Radio 

Sandra Izsadore, Author, Activist, Lyricist

Rev. Marjani Dele, Dele Ministries

Mr. Obi Egbuna Jr., External Relations Officer, Zimbabwe Cuba Friendship Association, Co-Founder, Mass Emphasis Children’s History and Theater Company, Washington, D.C., and Harare, Zimbabwe