Oakland, California Calls For Medical Collaboration with Cuba

Oakland's City Council voted Tuesday to join many others U.S. cities that support medical and scientific collaboration with Cuba on COVID-19.
Oakland’s City Council voted Tuesday to join many others U.S. cities that support medical and scientific collaboration with Cuba on COVID-19. | Photo: Twitter/@EmbaCubaUS

The City Council of the U.S. city of Oakland, California, approved a new resolution Tuesday condemning the economic, commercial, and financial blockade that the U.S. has been imposing on Cuba for almost six decades.

Oct 21 (teleSUR) José Ramón Cabañas, Cuban Ambassador to the United States, announced the news today on Twitter, highlighting that the resolution calls for bilateral cooperation to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
  
In the tweet, Cabañas asks if federal politicians will listen to the city’s request to lift the siege against Cuba, sharing the link to Resolution 20-0712 as well as supplementary documents.

“U.S. City Council of Oakland, California approves a new resolution against the Blockade on Cuba and calls for bilateral cooperation to combat COVID-19. Will federal politicians will listen to these demands?” says the diplomat’s message.

With Tuesday’s resolution, Oakland becomes the sixth U.S. city to adopt a resolution supporting U.S.-Cuba medical and scientific collaboration in 2020 alone. The California cities of Richmond, Berkeley, and San Francisco, as well as Cleveland, Ohio and Cambridge, Massachusetts, have all passed similar resolutions this year.

Introduced by Councilman Dan Kalb, the resolution recognizes the capacity of the Cuban public health system and its successes in controlling COVID-19, stating that the City Council will explore possibilities for cooperation with Cuba to jointly fight the pandemic.

To this end, it includes the possibility of removing restrictions that prevent the start of clinical trials of the Cuban drug Interferon Alpha 2B in the United States, as well as the elimination of economic and travel sanctions against Cuba.

Approved unanimously with a favorable vote from all eight members of the City Council, the resolution is the second one related to Cuba to be approved in Oakland since 2016 and becomes the 23rd one approved in all of the United States, a clear sign of the support from the American people to improve relations with Cuba.

Oakland resident and co-chair of the National Network on Cuba Alicia Jrapko said of the resolution: “We could learn a lot from the accomplishments of Cuba’s approach to the Covid 19 virus both in their country and around the world. Cuba has a lower infection rate than most countries in the northern hemisphere and Cubans are 42 times less likely to contract the virus than people in the U.S. In collaborating with Cuba we will show people in this country the humanistic approach Cuba has to fight the pandemic.”

Helene Maxwell, another Oakland resident in favor of the resolution, said: “Especially in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unconscionable, that because of the U.S. blockade of Cuba, patients in the U.S. are denied access to medicines that are available in every other country. Oakland’s approval of this resolution for medical and scientific collaboration between the City of Oakland and Cuba is a first step in ending this madness.”

This Thursday October 22, Cuba will present a report titled, “The need to end the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba,” which is submitted annually for the consideration of the United Nations’ member states and whose vote this year at the UN will be postponed until May 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic. 

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