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Media statement by The Friends of Cuba (SVG)

The Republic of Cuba has been a demonstrated friend in need and in deed to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  Every time an aircraft touches down at the Argyle International Airport, it is landing on the sweat of over 10 years of Cuban construction workers who toiled there to assist our country realise that long held dream.  Today we have international direct access to the United States and Canada and soon to the United Kingdom. For that we owe a debt of gratitude to the Cuban people.

Every time a patient receives dialysis treatment or any other specialised treatment at the Modern Medical Diagnostic Centre at Georgetown, we must think of and thank the people of Cuba.

Today, Cuba faces an urgent struggle for life or death.   The onslaught of the COVID -19 pandemic has created some extra special challenges for that nation.  It is the greatest of ironies that, in spite of its limitations, and having developed five of its own homegrown and researched vaccines to protect its people, and potentially save the lives of millions of others, particularly in the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and Asia, that the Cubans cannot adequately vaccinate their own people.

Today, because of shortages created by the existence of the 60-year-old economic and financial blockade, the distribution of the vaccines and the implementation of the vaccination campaign using the Abdala or Soberano 2 vaccines are severely hampered by the embargo, because of the scarcity of needles and syringes.

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If ever there was a time for the world to show humanitarian concern for the people of Cuba, it is now.  Daily figures reported by the Cuban Ministry of Health speak of upwards of 9,500 cases of COVID daily. Hospitals are overwhelmed; oxygen is in short supply; and the need outstrips the capacity of Cuba to produce that needed commodity.  Deaths are being reported at upwards to 60 daily.  It is time to stop and think, to reflect on this tragedy and to act.

So what can we do here within CARICOM?  Here at home, the Friends of Cuba consisting of the SVG-Cuba Friendship Society, the Association of Cubans Resident in SVG (which has already collected funds and sent back

home vital but limited quantities of medical supplies) and the SVG Medical Association, has joined forces to launch this urgent appeal. 

We have also informed both the government and the opposition, as well as civil society organisations of this initiative and both are supportive.

The SVG Cuba Friendship Society has long had an account established at the Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (BOSVG) with funds for emergencies such as this in Cuba.

The account number is 130016. We appeal for donations to be sent to the BOSVG in name of the SVG Cuba Friendship Society.

We, as Friends of Cuba, humbly appeal to you the people of SVG, whether you have benefitted directly or indirectly from Cuba’s generosity, for your financial assistance. The Cuban people have appealed to the world and is our duty to respond.

There is perhaps no other country on earth that has displayed the levels of solidarity and humanitarianism as Cuba. We have all been great beneficiaries of Cuba’s solidarity, from the VISION NOW programme, the Argyle International Airport, the Modern Medical Diagnostic Centre at Georgetown, treatment of Vincentian patients at Cuban hospitals, the provision of medical and engineering professionals, to providing hundreds of scholarships over 40 years toward shoring-up our technical and intellectual infrastructure.

NOW IS THE TIME for us to reciprocate on the grounds of humanitarian solidarity. The vital action of course would be the lifting of the embargo, but we can be of immediate help, by rendering assistance to our sisters and brothers in need. We therefore appeal for your contributions, no matter how small.  Cuba needs us now.

Issued Aug. 25, 2021

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

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