President Biden, Let Cuba Breathe, End the Blockade against Cuba!
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President Joseph R. Biden,
We, the Medical Advisory Committee of The Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), appeal for the humane restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba to relieve the suffering of the Cuban people, our island neighbors. Furthermore, we urge you to join with our Democratic Congress members as they implore you to support legislation calling for an end to the embargo against Cuba and removal of the terrorist designation of Cuba. The longstanding blockade against Cuba is unjustified and cruel. It stifles Cuban social, technological and economic development; thereby creating a constant burden on the Cuban people by limiting their access to essential resources and opportunities. While the Cuban people have been remarkably resilient under these oppressive sanctions, they are nonetheless suffering unnecessarily under these harsh conditions.
The continued sanctions of more than six decades and the recent reassignment on the list of state sponsors of terrorism , especially during this pandemic will less likely succeed in contrast to a more humane effort to develop diplomatic and inter-cultural relationships with the people of the United States. Our policy towards this non-threatening developing nation neighbor is contrary to our claims to uphold national self-determination, democracy, and human rights. This is the time, and you, President Biden, have the power to advance a just foreign policy towards Cuba. This would be a courageous next step after the ground-breaking initiative of your own Obama-Biden administration.
People from all over the world have been beneficiaries of Cuba’s medical goodwill. Within the last year alone, Cuba has sent its Henry Reeves International Medical Brigade to help combat the pandemic with 43 brigades in 33 countries. Furthermore, A total of 196 young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities in the United States have received free medical education in the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba since 2001. In our capacity as IFCO’s Medical Advisory Committee, we have witnessed these young people evolve as medical practitioners as well as cultural ambassadors sharing and learning from the US and Cuba. As mutual cooperation with our allies has allowed the US to gain access to new vaccines and therapies against COVID-19, we can best regain global respect by showing compassion and granting Cuba access to the resources needed to develop its industries and economy. If the embargo is lifted, Cubans could strengthen their medical infrastructure and advanced biotechnological sector and continue in the fight against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
In fact, Cuba is surging forward in the march to develop COVID-19 vaccines, being the only source of hope for many developing countries which have not been able to access vaccines. However, due to the blockade, syringes that are essential to implementation of mass vaccination are scarce. The USA gains nothing positive from blockading 11 million Cubans from access to basic supplies, including medications. For these reasons alone, please place ending the embargo against Cuba at the top of our foreign policy agenda. Allow the people of Cuba to breathe and survive this pandemic.
Ms. Gail Walker
Dr. Sapphire Ahmed, MD,MPH
Dr. Andrea Lyman MD, MSc, MS
Dr. Mary Louise Patterson, MD, MPH
Mrs. Kathryn Hall-Trujillo, MPH
Dr. Sarpoma Sefa-Boakye, MD
Ms. Anjelica Langdon
Dr. Michelle Strongfields, MD
Dr. Tom Naparst, MD
Dr. Rob Andrews, MD
Dr. Joaquin Morante, MD
Dr.Maxine Orris, MD
Dr. Michele Frank, MD
Dr. Samira Addrey, MD
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