Letter to President-elect Joseph Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board

An Open Letter to President-elect Joseph Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board

The SavingLives Campaign — a US, Cuban, and Canadian effort — appeals for immediate action for US-Cuba-Canada medical cooperation and solidarity

“A pandemic is by definition global. Surely, in the face of this worldwide menace, now is the time for international medical cooperation and solidarity? A time for joint efforts to confront COVID-19. A time to put political differences aside in order to save lives. It is for this reason, that we are launching a campaign to call for medical collaboration with Cuba, to gain access to Cuban medical expertise to assist in fighting COVID-19.”
Our SavingLives Campaign said this when we launched our efforts in March 2020, in the first period of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. And it is all the more true today!
The facts are clear — and recognized around the world. Cuba is not only a world leader in preventing, containing, and treating the coronavirus pandemic inside the island nation of 11.3 million, but has helped fight this pandemic in thirty-nine countries from Italy to South Africa to the Caribbean. Cuba is the only Latin American and Caribbean developing country that has produced vaccine candidates. Yet unilateral US sanctions aim to starve Cuba of fuel and funds that hamper its international medical solidarity as well as putting its own population more at risk. Clearly only a global health mobilization to effectively treat the ill and dying, along with the organization of mass vaccinations, can beat the virus pandemic. Cuba knows how to do this and is a rare success story in the Western Hemisphere.
The infection and hospitalization statistics irrefutably show the pandemic is reigning unchecked from coast to coast in the US. People across the US are calling for help. In six months, nine cities and three central labor councils have called for medical and scientific collaboration with Cuba. For the past four months Cubans living in the US are publicly saying end the US sanctions that hurt their families on the island — and they do it in Miami. Are we expected to wait complacently until the January 20 inauguration while health care heroes, front line workers, and our loved ones continue to be sacrificed? Not one Cuban medical professional in Cuba has died of COVID-19. Don’t we want to know how they do it?
  • Unblock remittances. Restore air-travel from the U.S. to Cuban airports ready to accept them beyond Havana. Stop blocking material and medical aid shipments.
  • Unblock Zoom and other social communications to end barriers to medical and scientific collaboration with Cuban colleagues.
  • Finally, expedite visas for medical exchanges and permit the legal import and trials of Cuban medicines and treatments to fight COVID-19 and other well-known treatments that avoid the trauma and expense of diabetic limb amputations, and resulting rehabilitation, as; well as lung and skin cancer vaccines and treatments and more that is currently prevented by US sanctions.
Even during the current Administration, collaboration with Cuban medical professionals saved the life of a noted Cuban-American pianist in Minnesota. It is an example that can be multiplied. The need for action transcends domestic political divisions and international divisions, too.

Canadian Network on Cuba
National Network on Cuba
Table de Concertation de Solidarité Québec-Cuba

By US-Cuba Normalization Committee

Organizing Committee, International and Nationwide Conference for the Normalization of US-Cuba Relations.

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