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News > Cuba

Cuba Temporarily Frees Food, Toiletries, and Medicines Imports

  • The banner reads,

    The banner reads, "Blockade, the longest genocide in history," Havana, Cuba, July, 15, 2021 | Photo: Twitter/ @ElioAlmaguer2

Published 15 July 2021

Despite its rhetoric on the defense of human rights, the United States attacks the Cuban people with a blockade that causes shortage of basic goods.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Manuel Marrero announced that Cubans who return to their country through airports will not be subject to limits on the non-commercial importation of medicines, food, and toiletries. This provision will be in effect until July 19.


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To be exempt from duty payment, passengers must differentiate these products from the rest of personal luggage. While citizens can bring groceries, they must comply with the established phytosanitary protocols to enter the country. 

This temporary import policy seeks to reduce the shortage of basic goods in the interior of the country, which has been harassed by a U.S. economic, financial, and trade blockade since 1960.

The strengthening of the blockade has increased the acquisition costs of these products between 30 and 50 percent. Marrero explained that regular suppliers cannot guarantee shipments to Cuba due to the new measures.

The U.S. arbitrary sanctions promote the shortage of medicines on this Caribbean island. The foreign trade restrictions imposed by the Helms-Burton Law, for example, prevent Cuba's Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industries (BioCubaFarma) from manufacturing 365 basic drugs.

Currently, Cuban production of basic medicines is focused on the fight against COVID-19 and on the attention of other chronic and non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and cancer.

Antihypertensive, antibiotic, and analgesic pills have still low availability on the Island. Faced with this complex situation, the country updates its strategies to expand national drug production.

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