Despite U.S. blockade, Socialist Cuba combats COVID-19

Juan Antonio Quintanilla, permanent Cuban envoy to the United Nations, adamantly stated that this Caribbean nation will stay on its socialist path, despite continual U.S. aggression via the blockade. In a speech to the U.N. in Geneva March 3, he emphasized that this is the Cuban people’s will and that nothing would cause them to change course. They are resolute in defense of their revolution.

Decrying Washington’s intensified economic warfare, Quintanilla stated, “The blockade constitutes the most flagrant and massive violation of the human rights of an entire people and the main obstacle to its economic and social development.” 

The ambassador criticized the U.S. government for taking advantage of the global COVID-19 pandemic to intensify the blockade and implement new destabilization plans against the socialist island. (Telesur, March 3)

The Trump administration from 2017-2021 enacted over 240 hostile measures against Cuba, many of them during the pandemic. Significantly, President Joe Biden’s administration has not overturned any of these hostile acts. This should be duly noted by all supporters of the Cuban Revolution. 

There is bipartisan agreement on the part of the Democrats and Republicans, no matter who sits in the White House, to squeeze the Cuban people economically and pressure them to overturn their socialist state. This goal underlies all of Washington’s actions aimed at Cuba. 

The Communist Party of Cuba’s (PCC) Central Committee denounced the 60 years of “economic, commercial and financial blockade” imposed Feb. 3, 1962, during the Kennedy administration. Its statement deplored the formalization of the “total embargo” on trade with Cuba, which began when the Revolution won. 

The leadership condemned the “encirclement and economic asphyxiation . . . meant to restrict the legitimate right of Cubans to defend our sovereignty and forge an emancipatory project, without imperialist domination.” This economic weapon is illegitimate, violates international laws and is meant to prevent Cuba’s trade with other countries and cut off income sources. (Granma, Feb. 3)

But Cuba’s sovereignty is recognized by the overwhelming majority of the world’s countries, as shown every year when they vote against Washington’s blockade in the U.N. General Assembly. 

China slams blockade

China’s State Council Information Office demanded cessation of the U.S. economic war against Cuba and punitive measures against Syria, Iran and Venezuela. Their statement called it a “massive, flagrant and unacceptable violation of the human rights of the Cuban people” and said, “just like the virus, the blockade asphyxiates and kills and must cease.” (Granma, March 3)

Despite Washington’s economic siege, the Cuban Revolution has made achievements not gained in the wealthiest capitalist governments. Cuban socialism ensures free, quality health care for its people to meet people’s needs, not line corporate coffers. 

Socialism’s superiority is shown in the government’s handling of the pandemic internationally and at home. Cuba’s Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade has sent medical teams to 27 countries to fight COVID-19.

At the National Assembly of People’s Power on Dec. 22, 2021, PCC Central Committee First Secretary Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez congratulated Cubans for joining the government’s anti-pandemic campaign. He emphasized the country’s achievements: producing three COVID-19 vaccines and two vaccine candidates and being one of the most advanced countries in vaccinating the population, especially children. 

“Public health is not a commodity; it is a right of all and a responsibility of the State,” emphasized Díaz-Canel. ( Could any wealthy capitalist country say that? 

Over 1.6 million children from two to 18 years of age were vaccinated. No pediatric deaths have occurred since that campaign ended. Cuba initiated a countrywide pediatric vaccination effort as soon as it could. Schools were not reopened until all children were vaccinated. Now, that is socialist planning! (Granma, Jan. 26)

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