Medical Supplies Donated by US Associations Close to the Regime Arrive in Cuba

Puentes de Amor and Code Pink sent material to Cuba for liver transplants. (Twitter)

14ymedio biggerEFE/14ymedio, Havana, 13 June 2022 — US groups connected to the Cuban government sent a donation of medical supplies, which arrived this Sunday, for liver transplants for eight children, according to the state press.

The products that make up the donation were purchased with $25,000 raised, according to Cuban-American Carlos Lazo, manager of the Puentes de Amor [Bridges of Love] project, who traveled with the leader of Code Pink, the American Medea Benjamin, as well as with other activists from those organizations.

Lazo said that the laws that regulate the economic embargo that the US has applied to Cuba for six decades prohibit the acquisition of these products through the market between the two countries, according to the Cuban agency Prensa Latina.

“The pressure we are putting on the United States Congress and the White House is aimed at trying to end the blockade imposed on Cuba for more than 60 years,” said activist Medea Benjamin.

She also pointed out that as long as this objective is not achieved “the most important effort will be aimed at continuing to help in the donation of syringes, food, medicines, and continue fighting to end the blockade.”

The acquisition of medical supplies is one of the exemptions from the embargo, under the same conditions as food. “The United States routinely authorizes the export of humanitarian goods, agricultural products, medicines and medical equipment to support the Cuban people. In 2019, the United States exported millions of dollars of medical products” to the Island, according to then Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs of the United States, Michael Kozak, speaking in 2020, in the midst of a pandemic.

The condition is that Cuba must pay in advance for the purchase and in cash, a practice that is unusual in international trade, as Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez has pointed out on several occasions, but through which tons of products are regularly purchased.

This donation is added to others received on the island in previous months sponsored by US associations and foundations and from Cubans living in the United States.

Since last year Cuba has received donations of medical supplies and basic food from Russia, China, Mexico, Japan, Nicaragua, Vietnam, among other countries, from both governments and private groups.

Last year the country received 135 donations from 40 countries, mostly medical supplies and equipment for immunization and the fight against the pandemic, according to official data.

Cuba has been going through a serious crisis for months due to the combination of the covid-19 pandemic, the tightening of the US economic, financial and commercial embargo and problems in national macroeconomic management.

Last week, the authorities prevented the entry of the American journalist Anthony DePalma to the Island. The writer also had two suitcases loaded with medicines for his friends from Guanabacoa, Havana, which inspired him to write his book The Cubans: Ordinary Lives in Extraordinary Times.

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