The fight against COVID-19 calls for a halt to the US blockade against Cuba

                                                                                    14th of May 2020

 The Swedish-Cuban Association  

To: The Committee for Foreign Affairs of the Parliament of Sweden, the parliamentary party groups  and the Swedish EU parliamentarians, and to the Government of Sweden 

The fight against COVID-19 calls for a halt to the US blockade against Cuba 

Against the backdrop of the ongoing Corona pandemic, the US sanctions against Cuba cruelly violate all decency and the most elementary humanity. 

Voices demanding an end to the sanctions are coming from more and more places: 

  • From a wide range of governments, including Argentina, China, Russia, Spain and Venezuela. 
  • From members of parliaments and deputies of congress in France, Japan, Spain, the UK, the USA and a number of other countries 
  • From the Latin American Parliament 
  • From UN Secretary-General António Guterres and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, as well as from UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Hilal Elver  
  • From media, politicians and organizations in the United States, such as the New York Times, Financial Times, Members of the Senate, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, and a number of organizations representing Cubans in the United States.
  • From the Pope and the World Council of Churches.
  • From thousands of individual friends of decency who have signed a petition against the blockade.

Covid-19 exposes the enormous restrictions that the US blockade subjects Cuba to. 

  • The blockade prevents the purchase of medicines, equipment and materials needed to combat the pandemic, and it makes it difficult for Cuba to borrow and receive international aid. For example a Western aircraft with medical personal protective equipment from China was prevented from delivering to Cuba.
  • The United States dominates the manufacture of many medical devices in the world. Cuba's purchase of respirators was stopped when the two manufacturing companies in Switzerland were purchased by a US company.
  • Donations are hampered by the blockade which hinders the operations of banks, shipping companies and airlines.
  • Pressure by the USA on insurance companies and shipping companies hinders Cuba's import of fuels and seriously damages the function and capacity of Cuba's health care system.
  • The US fines and penalties against companies and individuals in third countries hamper all commercial exchanges with Cuba, including the purchase of medical technology and supplies. 

It should be pointed out that Cuba showed true humanity when the United States was hit by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack and in connection with Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In both cases, Cuba offered to send substantial relief brigades. 

The humanitarian catastrophe of the pandemic is drastically exacerbated by the blockade and the sanctions that Cuba faces. These are now more extensive, harder and applied more strictly than ever during the 60 years that the country has been exposed to the hostile blockade of the superpower. It is an inhuman punishment of 11 million people. In addition, the sanctions complicate Cuba's international medical assistance, which is now also in demand by European countries such as Italy and Andorra.

We need a united world behind the UN in the fight against the pandemic, and therefore the blockade must cease, at least during the pandemic. The United States must be made to comply with international law and the United Nations General Assembly's determined opinion. The General Assembly has condemned the blockade for 28 consecutive years and demanded an end to it. Practically all countries are behind this demand. 

Sweden's parliamentarians should, in line with elementary decency and humanity: 

  • in their contacts with the United States publicly demand that the blockade against Cuba during the pandemic be stopped immediately.
  • work within the EU for the organization to put pressure on the United States on this issue.
  • take action in Sweden to protect companies and individuals that are threatened and hit by US fines and Cuba sanctions. 

Zoltan Tiroler,

President 

SwedishCuban Association

Categoría
Solidaridad
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