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U.S. should lift embargo on Cuba during COVID-19

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail2020-04-08 17:19:45
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Andres Jimenez, a retired state worker who makes masks to sell in his neighborhood, ties a mask on a girl, as a precaution against the spread of the new coronavirus in Havana, Cuba, March 31, 2020. /AP

The Cuban Embassy in China announced on its Weibo that the medical supplies donated by Chinese tech giant Alibaba to Latin American and Caribbean countries couldn't reach Cuba, as the U.S. government ordered the cargo company to halt the transportation, preventing Cuba from receiving the much-needed supplies for saving lives.

The reason cited by the American courier hired for the cargo shipment was that "the U.S. incumbent administration has stepped up the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the destination country, thus preventing the enterprise's actions."

In the 1950s, after the victory of the Cuban Revolution, the Cuban government paid special attention to people's livelihood by offering free medical care and education. Even in the depth of economic stress after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, these welfare policies remained unchanged.

Although the balance sheet of the government was stretched, it still allocated nearly half of its national budget to social welfare, of which 10 percent went to healthcare.

With such efforts, Cuba's average life expectancy, infant mortality rate, number of doctors per capita, and other public health metrics have been leading the world, and all major national health metrics have even outperformed the U.S. and stood on par with many developed countries.

However, the crude blockade against Cuba has lasted for 60 years after the American conspiracy to annex Cuba went bankrupt. 

The successive administrations in Washington have adopted hostile and blockade policies against Cuba, which not only extracted a heavy economic toll on Cuba, hindered the development of Cuba, but also worked as the underlying cause of the difficulties and the lack of humanitarian aid faced by Cubans today.

Such policies have severely impeded the full access to human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Cubans, including the rights to life, peace, self-determination, and development.

In November 2019, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution by an overwhelming majority, urging the U.S. to lift the economic, trade and financial blockade against Cuba.

However, the U.S. has remained defiant. The Trump administration even intensified this blockade, making the situation in Cuba extremely difficult.

At a special time of the global fight against COVID-19, the U.S. has not only failed to fulfill its obligations under the International Humanitarian Law, but also tightened up its blockade against Cuba. 

Screenshot of the Weibo of the Cuban Embassy in China announced that the medical supplies donated by Alibaba couldn't reach Cuba, as the U.S. government ordered the cargo company to halt the transportation.

The fact that humanitarian aid cannot reach Cuba at this time constitutes a new crime committed by the U.S. against this Caribbean island nation. 

Things of the same nature also happened to countries such as Iran and Venezuela. The actions of the Trump administration, including relentless blockade and deliberate obstruction of assistance for other countries, are worthy of nothing but condemnation.

Regarding Trump administration's untruthful remarks about China during the outbreak of COVID-19 and their clumsy performances in the country's fight against the virus, it's no doubt that they should be condemned.

The virus knows no borders and doesn't discriminate based on race, ethnicity, region or gender. The world needs to work as one to defeat it. All governments have reasons and responsibilities to shelve differences, step up cooperation, and put up joint defense and rescue efforts without reservation. The U.S. is no exception.

However, at such a critical time, the Trump administration is taken over by the malicious intent to add insult to injury in complete disregard of the lives in other countries. To make things worse, it takes every opportunity to shift blames and intentionally misses out on the best window of opportunity to save lives at home.

Many countries are studying the origin of the virus. Eventually, the truth will come to light. In Chinese proverb, "Paper can't wrap up a fire," as the paper used to cover the fire will eventually be burned out. The Trump administration should understand this very simple truth and stop making futile attempts.

In the face of a pandemic, we are all in it together. The virus has swept across the world and attacked more than 200 countries and regions indiscriminately.

At this juncture, shelving differences and acting in concert should be the consensus of all mankind. Anyone who kicks others when they are down or goes its own way for selfish reasons will not end up well. People of all countries need to shout at the Trump administration, "Stop knifing the innocent and join the coalition against the pandemic!"

It's hard, but we ought to fight for the noble cause. Otherwise, the virus cannot be stamped out and peace will be out of our reach.


Source: CGTN, April 7, 2020



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