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Oxfam demands the lifting of the US blockade on Cuba


American sanctions have hampered the country's Covid response

A new report from a major NGO has demanded the immediate lifting of crippling sanctions on Cuba.

Oxfam wants to see the US lift its economic blockage of the island, which it says impacts on the socialist country’s most vulnerable groups.

One effect has been to hamper Cuba’s response to the Covid pandemic.

The report, called the Right to Live Without a Blockade, says that during the last year the US policy has “represented a real obstacle to the procurement of mechanical ventilators, face masks, diagnostic kits, reagents, vaccination syringes, and other necessary materials to address Covid-19.”

Just weeks before the 29th United Nations General Assembly vote on Cuba’s resolution calling for an end to the blockade, Oxfam has joined with others around the world in calling for the US government to end the “cruel sanctions” against the island and return to a policy of engagement.

Oxfam says the US blockade restricts access to suppliers of medicines, technology, food, and other essential products.

The Trump administration imposed over 240 sanctions, 55 of which were implemented in the context of the Covid pandemic.

Oxfam says that President Biden must take a different approach.

The report includes a foreword by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a leading human rights organization that has focused on US-Cuba policy since the 1990s. WOLA president Geoff Thale echoes Oxfam’s call to end the blockade.

He said: “The embargo against Cuba has achieved nothing throughout the decades of its existence beyond contributing to human suffering, especially the suffering of women on the island.

“This report is essential in highlighting the current health crisis in Cuba and how US policy has exacerbated the damage.”



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