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  • Two people walk in front of an image of Fidel Castro, Havana, Cuba, May 5, 2020.

    Two people walk in front of an image of Fidel Castro, Havana, Cuba, May 5, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 6 May 2020
Opinion

Cubans suffer from an acute shortage of food and medicine caused by the U.S. blockade.​​​

At least 25 U.S. lawmakers Tuesday signed a letter requesting President Donald Trump's administration to allow Cuba access to medical supplies to fight COVID-19.

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Senator Patrick Leahy and Representative Jim McGovern are leading the initiative through a letter sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The Democratic lawmakers urge that they certify that U.S. policy does not prevent the shipment of medical supplies and devices to Cuba. They stressed that public health and safety must take priority during an unprecedented epidemiological emergency.

Members of the U.S. Legislative recalled that the Island is already suffering from an acute shortage of food and medicine caused by the economic, financial, and trade blockade imposed by the United States for more than six decades.

“Whether or not these humanitarian items are technically prohibited under the U.S. embargo, we are aware of reports that foreign companies have been deterred from providing such items to Cuba, including to respond to COVID-19, due to burdensome regulatory and reporting requirements and fear of prosecution or penalty under U.S. law.,” the letter states.

The letter explains that the expansion of COVID-19 poses a threat to the health and safety of Cubans, Caribbean peoples, and U.S. citizens alike.

"This is dangerous and contrary to our longstanding tradition of not politicizing the delivery of humanitarian aid.  In such an unprecedented emergency caused by a deadly virus that is so easily transmissible, public health and safety must take precedence.”

In this sense, the Democratic lawmakers reiterated the urgency of international cooperation in the fight against the pandemic and rejected the Republican administration's maneuvres to torpedo any such supply to the Cuban people.

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