Cuban medical cooperation deemed extraordinary in the US

By Deisy Francis Mexidor

Havana, Jul 28 (Prensa Latina) Cuba’s medical cooperation with other countries since the start of the pandemic is today an extraordinary example of internationalism, said US activist Diana Block, a resident of San Francisco.

During a virtual interview with Prensa Latina, Block expressed that President Donald Trump’s barbaric policies towards Cuba are the antithesis of the Caribbean country’s commitment to socialism and international solidarity.

The author of the autobiographical book Arm the Spirit -a Woman’s Journey Underground and Back (2009) expressed her support for ‘the award of the Nobel Prize to the doctors of the Henry Reeve Brigade’ and indicated that she signed the petition that is circulating to request this recognition.

Doctors at Henry Reeve represent a model of service and solidarity that people around the world can take inspiration from, Block emphasized.

It is also interesting for me, she said, that the contingent bears the name that honors an American who fought in the first war of independence for Cuba (1868-1878), which points to a long history of solidarity between our peoples.

She ratified that Cuban doctors and medical professionals have selflessly shared their knowledge and even when the Caribbean nation fights the new coronavirus, ‘Cuba sent brigades to countries suffering from Covid-19.’

Diana is one of the promoters of the idea that led the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco to unanimously approve a resolution on July 21 for the United States to promote medical and scientific collaboration with Cuba in times of pandemic.

As she explained, she was part of the Venceremos Brigade in 2019 and ‘several of us had visited the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Havana, where we were impressed by the many medications they had developed there.’

After the start of the pandemic, she said, we heard that the ‘Saving Lives’ campaign in the US and Canada was trying to get local governments across the United States to pass resolutions calling for medical and scientific cooperation with Cuba.

‘We decided then that it would be very important to get the city of San Francisco to pass a resolution that included the importation and clinical trials of Cuban drugs such as the antiviral Interferon Alpha 2B,’ of proven efficacy in treating Covid-19, he said.

At the time, they thought this could be especially significant since San Francisco is a center for medical and biotechnology research in the United States, said the feminist and anti-imperialist activist, as she defines herself.

In answering a question about the current relations between her country and Cuba, Block regretted that Trump tightened the blockade ‘in every possible way.’

She recalled that the Republican president ‘activated (in May 2019) Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, further limited travel and reversed all the positive policies initiated by the Barack Obama administration.’

He has even tried, he added, to undermine the positive role of international medical brigades.

I hope that many more resolutions will be approved to promote medical collaboration with Cuba in the United States, he added, insisting that the North American health system ‘failed terribly to meet the medical needs of the people during the pandemic and exposed the terrible racial inequalities that exist in the same’.

Now is the time for Americans to look to Cuba to learn about an alternative model of medical care, said Block, who first traveled to the Antillean nation in 1977 in the Venceremos Brigade itself.

‘That experience motivated me to do what I could to support the Cuban Revolution through the years,’ confessed this supportive friend who worked tirelessly in the campaign for the liberation of United States prisons from the five anti-terrorist fighters on the island.

Diana Block is a common name in various online publications. Among others, ‘I have written several articles on the many achievements of Cuba and the importance of ending the criminal US blockade against your people.’


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