Press Release: The blockade violates the right to health and food of the Cuban people
New York, October 13, 2017. Since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, ensuring free medical care for the entire population of the country has been an inviolable principle for the Cuban state and government, for which the health of its citizens is essential. Therefore, the purpose of subjugating the Cuban people through starvation and disease as a way of violating their right to self-determination has not been effective. Nevertheless, this has caused hardships as the public health and food sectors have remained as part of the US blockade implementation objectives.
Monetary damages accumulated due to this policy on Cuba´s public health from its inception amount to 2,711,600,000 dollars. These effects are reflected in the difficulty in acquiring from US markets medicines, reagents, spare parts for diagnostic and treatment equipment, medical instruments and other supplies required for the functioning of the sector.
In February 2017, German company Otto Bock HealthCare GmbH, provider of orthopedic prostheses, reported that because of the blockage they were unable to supply lower limb prosthetic components requested by MEDICUBA S.A. As a result of this refusal, a similar product but of lower quality had to be purchased.
On 17 March 2017, MEDICUBA S.A. received a communication from their supplier LINDMED Trade SL from Spain, notifying the inability to supply the broad-spectrum antibiotic Ciprofloxacin Lactate Injection 200 MG, as the manufacturer, Claris Otsuka, refused to sell the merchandise arguing that since "Cuba is under OFAC´s sanctions, they could not directly or indirectly supply any product."
In April 2017, German supplier Eckert & Ziegler Radiopharma Gmbh refused to supply MEDICUBA S.A. with the Ge-68/Ga-68 Gallia Pharm GMP Generator and its components, for the diagnosis of prostate cancer. According to the supplier, they were unable to supply the product directly to Cuba, or through a third country, because the blockade prevented them from doing so.
The cardiology department of Hermanos Ameijeiras Clinical-Surgical Hospital requires a circulatory assist device like the Impella system that is marketed by US Company Abiomed, market leader of its kind. In February 2017, the request for equipment to Abiomed was made through MEDICUBA S.A. No response has been obtained so far.
On the other hand, Food remains one of the sectors more severely depressed by the policy of blockade. The damages associated with this policy reached 347,598,000 dollars, between April 2016 and June 2017.
Cuba's companies in charge of manufacturing food products in the country have to import around 70 percent of their critical raw materials from different markets, including Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Canada, India, Dominican Republic and Mexico. However, to date, the blockade has not enabled purchases to be made in the US market, which is very attractive for its prices and proximity, besides having a variety of raw materials, equipment and materials required to modernize production lines. Such purchases would also significantly reduce inventories which, for obvious reasons, need to be kept in storage, imposing capital immobilization.
Examples and figures such as those cited show that the United States blockade against Cuba is a policy that violates the human rights of all Cubans.
Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations.