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On July 15, U.S. President Joe Biden publicly referred to Cuba as a failed state and disqualified the capacity of the island and its health and science system to respond to the enormous challenges imposed by the pandemic.
In the opinion of Mayda Mauri, first vice-president of BioCubaFarma, "these are completely uninformed statements aimed at distorting the reality of what is happening in our country."
At a press conference, the executive assured that plenty of information and data prove that what the U.S. president said is totally absurd.
The first vice-president of BioCubaFarma commented that, in response to these statements, a broad representation of Cuban scientists would address a letter to Biden, which will be circulated in the coming hours with arguments that demonstrate the capacity and political will of the country to face, as it has done, the challenges of the current pandemic.
"Among those arguments, we emphasize how Cuba, from science, has been able, in an innovative and altruistic way, to respond to the challenges presented by COVID-19, especially, from the very hard conditions imposed by the U.S. blockade".
Mauri stressed that Cuba's results in confronting the pandemic are public, "they have always been available to all observers," and highlighted the relatively low mortality rates due to the new coronavirus, "especially if we compare the Cuban reality with other countries in the world, even developed ones, and very particularly with what is happening in the United States."
The open letter, the scientists specified, will be available in electronic format so that scientists, professionals, technicians, whether from the biopharmaceutical industry or from other institutions, public and private companies in the country, who agree with what is stated in the document, will have the opportunity to sign it.
It will also be available for all the people in the world who want to support these concepts and principles, Mauri added and reiterated that the document refutes Biden's statements cataloging Cuba as a failed state, "that an intervention is required for the vaccination process to be successful and other assertions with which we do not agree."
"Personalities from Cuba's scientific community appear this Tuesday morning, August 10, at an international press conference, to respond to the accusations of the President of the United States."
"President Biden said on July 15 that his government was prepared to donate vaccines to Cuba if it was assured that an international organization would administer them in a way that would reach the average citizen. What we want to ask ourselves here is whether that is true, and also to place it in the context of the blockade," reflected Dr. Agustín Lage Dávila, advisor to the president of BioCubaFarma and former director of the Center for Molecular Immunology (CIM).
"The Cuban Democracy Act, Title 22, says that exports of medicines and medical supplies should not be restricted, which we know has not been the case, and we have many examples of restriction on exports to Cuba of medical equipment and medical supplies. In its point four, this document says: ׳except in the case that the item to be exported may be used in the production of any biotechnological productʹ; and of course, this includes vaccines. In other words, the supply to Cuba of products that can be used to manufacture vaccines is explicitly prohibited in a legal document of the U.S. Government.
President Joe Biden has the thesis that "an international body is needed to guarantee the Cuban people's access to vaccines," added Dr. Lage Dávila.
We can, he said, dwell on some data, all of them public and easily verifiable.
The vaccination coverage in Cuba for childhood prophylaxis is over 99%. It can be checked in the UNICEF database. He explained that all Cubans are protected by vaccines against 13 diseases, and eight of them are manufactured in Cuba.