Cuba Solidarity Campaign condemns US threats to Cuban medical internationalism
Campaign News | Thursday, 2 July 2020
02.07.2020: Statement by the British Cuba Solidarity Campaign in response to US threats to medical cooperation programmes
The Cuba Solidarity Campaign condemns the ongoing campaign by the US government to undermine Cuba’s international medical cooperation programmes. The most recent manifestation of this is the bill introduced by republican senators Rick Scott (FL), Marco Rubio (FL) and Senator Ted Cruz (TX) on 17 June, which aims to classify Cuban medical brigades as victims of human trafficking, and calls for punitive sanctions against countries which work with them.
Such threats to humanitarian assistance from one country to another are an affront to people across the globe, and particularly repugnant during an international health pandemic which has killed more than half a million people.
More than 30 countries have requested and received help from Cuba in the form of medical brigades to assist in their fight against coronavirus. Over 2,000 Cuban health professionals have treated people suffering from the virus in the Caribbean, Americas, and Africa as well as Italy and Andorra. Recently a brigade of Cuban doctors have been welcomed into the French territory of Martinique for a two-month mission.
In the last week, Britain has cooperated with Cuba to support the posting of two of Cuban brigades to the British overseas territories of Anguilla, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. On 26 June the British embassy in Havana tweeted that the British government “appreciated the Cuban medical assistance to fight the pandemic in our overseas territories.” On 30 June, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, said that Covid-19 illustrated the “need for global co-operation” and thanked Cuba for its help to repatriate more than 600 passengers on the cruise ship Braemar in April.
Cuba has a long and proud history of international medical cooperation that has been praised internationally by the United Nations and the World health Organisation. This includes sending missions to Pakistan in the aftermath of the Kashmiri earthquake (2005), to Haiti to assist with the devastating cholera outbreak following the earthquake (2010), and to West Africa in the region’s fight against Ebola (2015). In the last 56 years 400,000 Cuban health workers have responded to natural disasters and helped build health services in 164 nations.
During a global health crisis, Cuba’s life saving missions are an example of humanitarianism that the world can learn from. Such international cooperation should be encouraged and praised, not undermined and slandered as the US senators’ bill desperately seeks to do.
The Cuba Solidarity Campaign welcomes the UK Government support for Cuba’s international missions. We support the right of Cuba and other countries, including the UK, to cooperate with such international medical programmes, and indeed any other projects that they choose, without the threat of sanctions from the United States which are a blatant attempt to strangle the Cuban economy.
We will continue to fight against any attempts to undermine international cooperation in health and other sectors, and we call once again for an end to the inhumane US blockade. Web story The Cuba Solidarity Campaign in the UK has issued a strong statement of condemnation against the latest aggressive threats emanating in the US to undermine Cuba’s international medical cooperation.
Rob Miller, Cuba Solidarity Campaign Director, said “the proposed legislation in the United States is a clear and outrageous attempt to use US power to threaten smaller countries who have sought, and received, Cuban medical assistance during the pandemic. The fact that countries such as France, Italy and the UK have all worked with Cuba to facilitate such international cooperation should be welcomed. We hope that countries across the globe will stand up to these ‘bullyboy’ tactics from a US administration that has repeatedly shown its failings and inability to offer assistance to its own people, let alone people across the globe, during the current crisis. Now is the time for cooperation across borders, not sanctions and threats”