Cuba’s Ambassador to China, Carlos Miguel Pereira Hernández in a recent blog, denounced the Trump administrations’ hesitance on lifting the 60-year embargo and economic blockade on Cuba.
This is despite the United Nations (UN) calling for greater global cooperation and the lifting of sanctions by the United States on Cuba, Venezuela and Iran during the coronavirus pandemic in order to permit the unhindered flow of more medical aid to these countries.
According an article written by Michael Weissenstein, published by the Associated Press (AP) on 3 April 2020, “Columbia-based Ariana Airlines declined to carry a consignment of aid consisting of 100 000 face masks, Covid-19 diagnostic kits, ventilators and gloves to the island nation state.
The aid was meant as a donation by Asia’s richest man, Jack Ma’s Foundation, the foundation is sending similar aid to countries around the world, including the US According to Cuban officials, the cargo carrier declined to carry the aid to Cuba because its major shareholder is a US based company subject to the trade embargo on Cuba.
“The embargo has exceptions for food and medical aid but companies are often afraid to carry out related financing or transportation due to the risk of fines or prosecution under the US embargo.”
Despite the Trump administration’s insistence on undermining Cuba’s sovereignty, the island continues to play a significant role in global cooperation by aiding countries who have suffered enormous losses due to the rapid spread of the corona virus worldwide.
On the 22 March 2020, Cuba sent a brigade of doctors and nurses to Italy in order to assist in the fight against the novel corona at the request of the worst affected region of Lombardy in the North West of Italy.
Similarly, the United Kingdom has expressed gratitude towards the government of Cuba for allowing the British cruise-liner MS- Braemer to dock at the port of Mariel on the North West of Cuba at a time when the ship was denied entry by several countries.
The British cruise ship with more than 1000 passengers on board and five confirmed cases of corona virus posed an enormous health risk, however, Cubafelt a moral obligation to extend solidarity by providing aid at the request of the British government.
Cuba is one of 185 countries and territories that have reported cases of the Covid-19 within their borders.
The Cuban Ministry of Public Health reported 766 cases of people testing positive for the virus, 21 have died with 121 having fully recovered from the illness that has sickened almost 2 million worldwide.
A partial lockdown similar to that of Namibia was instituted on instruction of the Cuban government with citizens urged to stay in their homes in order to curtail the spread of the virus.
The country has suspended the academic calendar at elementary, senior and tertiary level, entry and exit of flights have been discontinued and only emergency cases such as the return of Cuban volunteers from other parts of the world, humanitarian aid and emergency travels are permitted by the authorities.
Cuba’s world-renowned health care system has risen to the occasion with thousands of scientists, doctors, medical students and nurses constantly engaged in mitigating its further spread.
At home, 2 305 patients have been admitted to health facilities countrywide with emphasis being placed on the elderly, the sick, pregnant woman and those suffering from underlying health conditions such as diabetics receiving day to day healthcare at these facilities.
Cuba’s President Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez is constantly engaged in providing his country with accurate information that is crucial in the fight against Covid-19, the President and his Ministers have appeared on national television and other broadcast media to keep the nation up to speed as the global medical emergency unfolds.
Director of Epidemiology at the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Duran Garcia is also daily engaged in providing updates on the status quo in order to counter sensationalism and fake news which have been used to spread misinformation and disinformation placing the countries efforts at containing the virus at risk.
Since the triumph of the Cuban revolution, Cuba has extended solidarity to the rest of the global community in various sectors such as health, education, construction and the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals.
Upwards of 400 000 Cuban professionals have fulfilled missions in 164 one countries on the African continent, the Americas, within the Middle East and the greater Asia.
Since gaining independence in the year 1990, the Namibian nation has been a beneficiary of hundreds of doctors, nurses and health technicians who have been working tirelessly in all fourteen regions to ensure the country attains a standard of living similar to that of developed countries in the world.
During the outbreak of the Ebola virus in 2014, 256 members of the Henry Reeve Brigade created by the Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro served in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea sacrificing their lives for the benefit of all of humanity.
At present, the brigade has medical teams in 17 countries affected by the Covid-19 global crisis.
Cuba has expressed its readiness in assisting the rest of the world in the fight against Covid-19 and this is evident with the manufacturing of a drug called Interferon alpha -2b.
A product of the Cuban biotechnology industry that has been successfully used in the treatment of patients with Covid-19 in several countries including China.
It thus comes as a disappointing surprise that with all its efforts towards global aid and relief the United States of America insists on denying Cubans aid relief from countries such as China.
This comes at such a crucial time in world history where the U.S. has found itself as the country with the most corona virus infection in the world at 614, 180 active cases and 26,061 deaths, according to latest data posted by Wikipedia on Wednesday morning.
It is morally reprehensible the Trump administration is willing to sacrifice human lives to further a political agenda that has been discredited repeatedly by all other countries.
Covid-19 is a global tragedy and the world needs to be united in its fight against this pandemic. The U.S will be doing itself a great disfavor if it does not join the rest of the world in putting humanity first and desisting from undermining global efforts in fighting the virus.
*This article is co-authored by Vitalio Angula, left, a socio political commentator and independent columnist and on the right Aldo Fuentes the Deputy Head of Mission at the Cuban Embassy in Namibia