Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES — Recently, the resolution titled “The Need to Put an End to the Economic, Commercial and Financial Blockade Imposed on Cuba by the United States of America” was voted on at the UN General Assembly for the 24th time and, again, it was approved almost unanimously, with the only the United States and Israel voting against it.
The report submitted to the Assembly by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez presents details and figures illustrating how much damage the US blockade has caused the people of Cuba, data I will not share, as it is more than well known by most.
When, on December 17 of 2014, the presidents of Cuba and the United States announced that they would re-establish diplomatic relations between the two countries, Barack Obama acknowledged that the policy of blockade had failed and that it was harming the people of Cuba without securing its original objective, that is, overthrowing the revolutionary government and bringing back neoliberal capitalism to Cuba.
In his speech, Obama also declared that “Neither the American, nor Cuban people are well served by a rigid policy that is rooted in events that took place before most of us were born.”
Elsewhere in his address, he stated: “I believe that American businesses should not be put at a disadvantage, and that increased commerce is good for Americans and for Cubans.”
In this statement, Obama made it clear that the blockade was only detrimental to the people of Cuba, but also to US companies, which remain at a disadvantage before those of other countries (which have been doing business with Cuba for decades).
This year, numerous US entrepreneurs and governors from several states, as well as the Secretary for Agriculture and the Chair of the Chamber of Commerce, have visited the island and expressed an interest in doing business with Cuba as soon as the blockade is lifted.
Even though Obama didn’t mention it, Cuba has unique products that are of interest to the United States public in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries and could reach them if trade relations with Cuba are normalized.
Recently, Cubadebate translated and published an article from The Huffington Post from which I will quote a number of excerpts, to demonstrate how important US scientists consider the products developed by Cuban science to be.
“When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) headed to Havana on a historic trade mission in April, he returned with the promise of an important commodity: a Cuban-developed lung cancer vaccine.”
“The vaccine, called CimaVax, has been researched in Cuba for 25 years and became available for free to the Cuban public in 2011. The country’s Center for Molecular Immunology signed an agreement last month with Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York to import CimaVax and begin clinical trials in the United States.”
This is but one example of the many we could invoke, such as the medication Heberprot-P, which has prevented thousands of lower limb amputations in Cuba and many other countries, and which US citizens have not been able to benefit from because the blockade bars the US from purchasing the product – additional proof, if needed, that this obsolete policy not only harms the Cuban people, but US citizens as well.