14ymedio, Havana, July 14, 2021 – The Cuban Government announced this Wednesday that it authorizes “under special circumstances” imports of food, cleaning products, and medicine for passengers arriving to the island. The entry into the country of these goods will be “without limit of import value and free of tariffs,” said Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz.
The measure, which will be in effect until December 31, 2021, was announced by Marrero in the Roundtable program, where he also explained that these products “must be differentiated from the rest of the luggage.”
Marrero emphasized that currently the entry of medicines is exempt from payment of customs duties and that their non-commercial import of up to 10 kilograms is authorized.
The prime minister pointed out that tourists arriving in the country via Cayo Coco and Varadero are not eligible for these new measures, and that, according to a recent measure, they can only enter with one suitcase.
Marrero acknowledged the shortage of drugs in hospitals and pharmacies. He said that the current crisis is due to the foreign exchange deficit and this has caused drug shortages. According to him, antihypertensives, antibiotics, analgesics, contraceptives, vitamins and products for stomatological use are the ones in short supply.
Last April, amid the precipitous economic deterioration and aggravated by the pandemic, several activists launched a petition via Change.org for the Government of Miguel Díaz-Canel to open a “humanitarian corridor” that would allow the introduction of medicines and basic necessities into Cuba.
The request intensified this weekend on social media with the hashtag #SOSCuba and trended on Twitter after dozens of international artists offered their support to the hundreds of Cubans who called for “a humanitarian corridor.”
Ernesto Soberón, general director of Consular Affairs and Cuban Residents Abroad, had assured this Sunday that this is a campaign “to represent Cuba in total chaos” and that it does not correspond to the real health situation or its indicators of COVID-19.
The new import measures come after protests, Sunday, July 11, which have left people dead, arrested and injured throughout the country.
Translated by: JGR Penton
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