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The Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
and First Secretary of State
House of Commons
Dear Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP
Subject: Cubans in the UK demand an end to the US blockade.
We, Cuban residents in the United Kingdom, are urging the British government to play a leading role discussing with the United States of America the need to lift the Embargo against our people. The fight against the covid-19 pandemic is stretching resources all over the world and even strong economies are facing enormous challenges. We are sure that you appreciate how hard the NHS is working to look after patients with COVID-19. No country in the world can survive isolated and even worse when a powerful country imposes a blockade which includes medicine and medical products.
Cuba is making an extraordinary effort to face this covid-19 pandemic. The country tries to save lives inside and outside its borders. Currently, all Cuban and foreign patients in Cuba suffering from the symptoms of COVID-19 are treated in hospitals, including thousands of people suspected of incubating this new coronavirus. Medical students guided by their professors are carrying out national surveys to identify the most vulnerable and high-risk people, as part of preventive medicine, a characteristic of the Cuban health system.
The country also guarantees tests to detect this virus, ensuring national coverage, as part of the strategy to control the spread of COVID-19. These tests are carried out by specialist personnel in three laboratories in the country with technology and experts trained in the Pedro Kouri Institute of Tropical Medicine. Following the indications of the World Health Organization, the fieldwork seeks to identify the foci and their contacts to proceed to the isolation of possible carriers of the disease. This effort in the early stages of the spread of COVID-19 ensures that the exposed population is reduced and with it the best use of the resources of the national Public Health system.
Cuban researchers in collaboration with Chinese colleagues, have worked intensively on the production of a new vaccine against the new coronavirus, the clinical trial of which continues and is expected to be completed in 2021. Also, of Cuban production, the recombinant Interferon alfa 2B has been used in clinical trials since the beginning of the pandemic in China and is available for those who require it in Cuba. Other treatments with international success in this pandemic are also applied in Cuba, among them the antiretroviral Kaletra, previously used in the treatment and prevention of AIDS, and the antiviral Oseltamivir, a generic of national production widely used in the treatment and prevention of influenza viruses (A and B). On the other hand, the distribution of the nationally produced homeopathic medicine Prevengho-Vir has begun, as a prophylactic measure to avoid viral contagion.
Cuban epidemiologist and experts broadcast daily to inform and educate the population on the measures to be followed. Cuba has so far sent medical brigades to 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and Europe that have requested Cuban assistance to face this pandemic. While Cuban doctors are in different countries providing medical care, the US department continues to urge Cuban doctors to abandon their missions, offering them visas to travel to the United States. They have also issued a circular to third countries asking them to reject the Cuban medical brigades for being allegedly “slaves” of the Cuban government. The international thanks and support that Cuban doctors have received contrast with the political manipulation used by the US administration. Nothing justifies the United States aggressive and inhumane policy towards Cuba.
The pandemic is also having a negative impact on the world economy. In just a few weeks, the most developed countries have taken extraordinary measures to provide essential resources to their populations and avoid the chaos caused by scarcity of resources. Our country has had to face similar circumstances for more than 60 years, not because of natural catastrophes but because of the iron blockade imposed on our country by the United States.
On April 1, a donation of medical supplies from China sent to 24 countries in the region, including Cuba, could not land in Cuba due to the US economic and financial blockade. The European Union and the United Nations have called on the US government to relax sanctions so that countries like Cuba can access the necessary food and medicine during the pandemic. However, the Trump administration continues to act unilaterally. Cubans need the definitive end of the US Embargo and the cessation of aggressions against Cuba.
We know about the good relationship between our countries, particularly in the areas of Education and Public Health. We witness your recognition and thanks to the Cuban government in response to the urgent situation experienced by the passengers of British cruise MS Braemar. The Cuban government allowed the docking of this vessels adopting the protocol established by the World health Organization and the Cuban Ministry of Health.
We now look forward to seeing a supportive and humane gesture towards Cuba.
Thank you in advance. Yours sincerely,
Dr Miriam Palacios and Mr Daniesky Acosta
Directors for the association Cubanos en UK