Blockade of Cuba hinders COVID-19 response

01 May 2020 03:42

(A banner in Havana reads: "12 hours of blockade deprive 64,000 Cuban patients of insulin." Souce:

The National Trade Union of Construction Workers of Cuba (SNTC) has denounced the continuing economic blockade imposed by the United States, especially during a health crisis. In 2019, for the 28th consecutive year, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for an end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba. 

The blockade has hindered Cuba’s COVID-19 response, the most recent negative effect has been to prevent the shipment of ventilators and other medical supplies IMT from Medical AG and Acutronic Medical Systems AG, US companies based in Switzerland.

In a letter sent to the SNTC General Secretary, BWI Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, Nilton Freitas decried the blockade imposed on Cuba even during the pandemic. "We firmly reject these policies of commercial exchange restriction with Cuba. At a time of pandemic, real and great expressions of solidarity among different people and nations are required,” said Freitas.

Carlos de Dios Oquendo, SNTC General Secretary, also reported that there is no fuel for food distribution in Cuba. Additionally, the water system, at least in Havana, does not operate at 100 percent due to the drought that affects the country. This situation has reportedly left a segment of the population without g water, vital in a COVID-19 response recommended by the health authorities. SNTC said that it is working hard to restore the water system and maintain the electrical system, as its contribution to the well-being of the affected population.

Despite this, as of 30 April, Cuba has 1,467 COVID-19 cases and 58 deaths, one of the lowest figures in the region. Additionally, Cuba has also extended international solidarity by sending over 28,000 doctors to help the public health care response in 59 countries.