In his speech at the General Discussion of the 60th session of the Social Development Commission, Cuban Ambassador Yusnier Romero explained how Washington’s blockade, intensified in an unprecedented way during the Covid-19 pandemic, directly affects the quality of life of an entire people and hampers public services in his nation.
Such a policy of hostility is an affront to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and international law, violates human rights and constitutes the main obstacle to Cuba’s economic and social development, he stressed.
“Between the months of January and July 2021 alone, the blockade caused damage to Cuba in the excess of two billion dollars in all spheres of society, including health care, agriculture, food, education, culture, tourism, transportation, communications and the biopharmaceutical industry.”
Despite this mechanism, Cuba continues to prioritize the protection of its population, especially in the context of the pandemic, stressed Cuba’s deputy permanent representative at the UN.
In addition, my country is the only one in Latin America that has developed its own vaccines against Covid-19, with more than 34 million doses administered, as an essential step to control the spread of the virus and start recovery from the pandemic.
Out of a population of just over 11 million, 9.8 million people have already been vaccinated and 5.3 million have received a booster dose, he pointed out.
Cuba was also the first country to have a mass Covid-19 vaccination program for children two years of age and older, Romero stressed.
Likewise, since the beginning of the pandemic, the Cuban Government has implemented various measures in labor, salary, taxes, and security and social assistance to protect the most vulnerable sectors of the population, so that no one is left unprotected, the diplomat noted.
Despite the pandemic, Cuba is strengthening its healthcare programs for children, youths, people with disabilities and the elderly, the ambassador said.
In the same way, it diversifies the sources of employment and improves the institutions in charge of providing quality public services to the people.
On the other hand, progress continues in housing programs and a strong boost is being given to the revival and local development of vulnerable communities and neighborhoods, he explained.
“All this would be much less difficult and less expensive, and superior results could be achieved, if Cuba did not have to live under a policy of undeserved punishment such as the one represented by the United States blockade.”
The Cuban ambassador also warned how developing countries face a greater impact from the Covid-19 pandemic and have fewer resources to deal with it.