15TH April, 2020
Public Statement for Immediate Release
End US Blockade Against Cuba, Save Millions Around The World
In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens wrote: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair."
Charles Dickens wrote about exceptional times in his novel. We are living exceptional times. There is no doubt that the novel corona virus has turned our life upside down. One can honestly say there is life before the virus and life after it. The virus is a threat to all of us. No one is immune and the virus is unlike anything humanity had to deal with since the EBOLA pandemic, which left Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia a tale of tears for the lost lives and devastated national economies.
Nothing brings the reality of the fragility of life like the loss of a dear friend. The world has lost and continues to lose thousands of lives to the virus. When this happens, the challenge becomes real. It's not only statistics that one reads about or hears about. The corona virus is real.
COVID-19 is a non-discriminatory enemy. It recognizes no race, no faith, no age, and no gender. It does not stop at city, state or national borders. The virus is not Chinese just like the EBOLA pandemic was not African. It is just a virus and viruses are a biological reality. This reality mandates that we deal with the novel corona virus as a challenge to all humanity and not as a political football. The outbreak of a pandemic is not the time to play politics. We are facing a global public health emergency.
Sometimes we talk about human rights, but the reality here is nation states, borders and citizen rights. Some cynically say that human rights are merely a talk shop not connected to the reality of world politics. But human rights are about what makes us human and the UN Human Rights Charter was not imposed on humanity, nation states agreed to it. There are challenges we face that cross borders: “Unilateral sanctions and blockades”, say for instance. No nation should be made to suffer the evil designs and tastes of bullying powers. The people of Cuba are being made to suffer for a crime they never committed, and this has become a challenge the world has to contend with.
No nation stands alone. We need each other. The issue of the United States, and in particular, President Donald Trump’s hatred for the people of Cuba is a global challenge and not a Cuban issue alone. In other words the unending US blockade and hostile behaviours against Cuba posed serious threat to humanity.
With the outbreak of the corona pandemic sweeping across the world, US blockade against Cuba sends a clear message that humanity is in the same boat. We are facing a challenge as human beings being attacked, sickened and threatened the existence of a whole eleven million Cuban people due to 58 years US blockade and other hostile behaviours. This is a challenge that should unite all humanity to say no to US blockade against Cuba.
Ending US blockade against Cuba is a human responsibility. It begins with each members-state of the United Nations and individuals rally support and solidarity behind the Cuban people, especially in this global health emergency when the Government of Cuba needs to purchase supplies and technology necessary to combat the fast-spreading and killer corona pandemic. Ignoring this reality will only hinder efforts at combating the pandemic and by extension results in the deaths of millions of people around the world. Accelerating sanctions against third countries hinder Cuba's commercial operations, including the purchase of medical supplies and technologies. This is nothing but a brutal violation of human rights, a heinous crime and crime against humanity.
No one denies the fact that US illegal and unjust economic war had already resulted in unimaginable suffering of the Cuban people even before the COVID-19 pandemic. With the global spread of the monstrous pandemic, the Cuban Government finds it extremely difficult to protect and save the lives of its eleven million citizens in the face of the current global health emergency. Not bothered by the need to support Cuba’s efforts at combating the corona virus, the aggressive rhetoric Trump administration in Washington, in its ill-thoughts-out design to distract international public attention, has resorted to increasing its threats of prohibiting entry of ships into the US that have passed through Cuba. This is genocide at the highest international order.
The COVID-19 time is a time for reflection, collaboration and unity- to focus on what is really important. It’s time to exert pressure on the Trump administration in Washington to have a second look at the US policy towards Cuba. It's time to be strong and refuse to surrender to a racist-driven policy that tends to destroy Cuba's economic and commercial relations with practically any country in the world, regardless of that country's relationship with Cuba; and to turn the Cuban people into virus-making machines that infect others and at the end kill millions. This is a struggle for our survival. We are dealing with a monstrous virus.
Medical experts have concluded that, over the past 50 years the emergence of many different corona viruses that cause a wide variety of human and veterinary diseases has occurred. It is likely that these viruses will continue to emerge and to evolve and cause both human and veterinary outbreaks owing to their ability to recombine, mutate, and infect multiple species and cell types. This is a clarion call to demand Washington to remove its unwanted, unjust and illegal blockage against Cuba and the world.
End US blockade against Cuban now, and save millions!
Cuba must live!!
Alimamy Bakarr Sankoh
Consular-General and President of the Executive Board of Trustees
The Hugo Chavez International Foundation for Peace, Friendship and Solidarity