While billion-dollar deals are being made with biotech companies speculating on untested Covid-19 vaccines and political banter promising results in a short few months, tried and proven treatments for Covid-19 is only 90-miles away from the U.S. southern border in Cuba. The Latin-American country has effectively treated cases in Cuba and worldwide as far away as China.
However, because of a 60-year-old embargo by the U.S., the American public is being denied a chance to save lives and lessen the adverse effect of the pandemic. Americans are suffering and dying under anti-Cuba geopolitical machinations. The Black, Brown, Red and poor White can benefit if the U.S. government reverses the sanctions against the island nation. There are campaigns demanding the embargo be lifted and Cuban medical experts be allowed to enter the borders of the U.S. with their treatments. One active effort is the Get Out of Cuba’s Way campaign, a collective that is pushing for Cuban medical personnel to be granted access.
“Once the pathway has been successfully cleared, they would treat patients suffering from the genocidal pandemic and train overwhelmed U.S.-based medical personnel,” said Obi Egbuna Jr., a Washington D.C.-based external relations officer with the Zimbabwe Cuba Friendship Association.
The devastation of Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc with sickness and death in the U.S. Although the virus has claimed victims across class, creed, and color, the most affected has been Black, Brown, and indigenous communities. With vaccine pushers marketing to Blacks and Latinos to sign-up as human guinea pigs to test vaccines, the need for something different and trustworthy is intensifying.
Mr. Egbuna told The Final Call in an email inquiry that along with allowing Cuban medical professionals, the effort includes getting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to clear the way for patients suffering from the virus to receive Cuba’s Interferon-Alpha 2-B which was developed by Cuba’s Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.
This measure would be a step, in concert with several dozen nations worldwide. Earlier this year the campaign issued a major appeal letter endorsed by an unprecedented broad representation of national and international groups, voices, professional medical associations, activists, peace advocates and faith leaders outlining why and how the Cuban medical brigade can be effective in the U.S. if the door is opened.
The group suggests the Cuban medical brigade work in collaboration with the National Medical Association, Black Nurses Association, and the American Medical Association, “who all are no strangers to their work,” explained Mr. Egbuna.
The campaign also wants the White House, U.S. Congress and Senate to act and allow the Cuba medical brigade to provide hands on medical assistance in hospitals, clinics, and other emergency installations. Early on, politically the appeal was endorsed by Calvin Hawkins, city councilman at large for Prince George’s County in Maryland and Alabama State Senator Malika Sanders Fortier.
Mr. Egbuna stated Newark, New Jersey Mayor Ras Baraka is on board and agreed to present the campaign demands to the National Conference of Black Mayors and the World Conference of Mayors for endorsement.
“While we are targeting elected officials, under no circumstances should this be viewed as a strategy that is part and parcel of being involved in the never-ending lover’s quarrel between Democrats and Republicans,” said Mr. Egbuna.
He wanted to be clear that their engaging the Cuba issue is based in genuine solidarity not fair-weather political play of convenience and imagery.
The collective also works with others like the Saving Lives Campaign, who also has been advocating Cuba entry to help America.
Decades before the pandemic Cuba was sending medical doctors worldwide. Since Fidel Castro, Cuba sent upwards of 400,000 health care professionals to 164 countries over time. Its “medical internationalism” and soft power policy was a source of solidarity for other nations. Officially called “Collaboration Missions” in 1960, Cuba sent medics to Chile following a devastating earthquake. Three years later medics went to Algeria in northwest Africa during its independence war against France. The mission was birthed in Cuba’s policy of supporting anti-colonial struggles and nations in distress.
Before the pandemic, Cuba had 28,000 health professionals in 59 countries through its Henry Reeve brigade. Since the Covid-19 onslaught, the Brigade dispatched over 2,000 doctors and nurses to 23 countries in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and most notably to China.
Cuba’s medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and based on the concept of health care as a human right, in contrast to the U.S. where 28 million people lack medical insurance which was exacerbated by Covid-19.
Then the figures for Blacks dying from Covid-19 is higher than other groups. On August 18, the latest date researchers have crunched the numbers, almost 36,000 African Americans had died from Covid-19, reported the Guardian. The uptick means that 1 in 1,125 Black Americans died from the disease, compared with 1 in 2,450 White Americans—half the rate.
Amid the global pandemic where many countries allowed Cuban assistance, Washington refuses to soften its position. The truth that the U.S. government is intentionally preventing lifesaving treatments from entering its borders as well as the successful inroads Cuba is achieving developing treatments and a vaccine is part of a “media blockade,” said Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez in a Sept. 4 tweet.
“Cuban scientists share their progress with the world, show protocols against the pandemic and results of their own vaccine candidate. However, little information reflects it,” Mr. Rodriguez said.
He added that the Cuban successes are being ignored and censored in the U.S. corporate media.
For the Get Out of Cuba’s Way movement, along with their political activism, a public awareness campaign through the arts is being used as well. A “Get Out Of Cuba’s Way” eight-minute and 20 second mini-documentary produced and directed by 16- year-old Sia LiWright, Jaelyn Mitchell, 21, and Zion Utsey, 20, who wrote its theme song was created.
The project was done through the Mass Emphasis Positive Action and Creativity Youth Brigade.
“The mini-doc … illustrates that our young people can make a statement of this magnitude in less time than it took terrorist police to ruthlessly execute George Floyd,” added Mr. Egbuna. The film paid tribute to several people who died or were affected by Covid-19, including Nation of Islam East Coast Regional Minister Abdul Hafeez Muhammad, hip hop artist Fred Da Godson, jazz pioneer Ellis Marsalis, Cameroon jazz icon Manu Dibango and Pan-African, Black nationalist freedom fighter Dr. Conrad Worrill, who all succumbed to the disease. It also honored New York State Assemblyman Charles Barron and his wife Councilwoman Inez Barron who both overcame the virus and are longtime defenders and supporters of the Cuban revolution.
The film is scheduled be shown at the Pan African Film Festival and San Francisco Film Festival.
Part of the ongoing efforts of awareness and support was a weekend long virtual cultural and artistic tribute to Cuba in July. Themed: “Africa and the World Thanks Cuba,” the event included entertainers and artists from eight African nations, five Caribbean Nations, three European nations, 13 U.S. cities and Canada.
An upcoming cultural tribute of artists will take place January 1, 2021, focusing on both Cuba and Haiti—the day both countries won independence, Cuba in 1959 and Haiti in 1804.
The work of the Get Out of Cuba’s Way movement also coincides with a call by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam to open America up for Cuban assistance. During a global speech on July 4 called “The Criterion,” the Muslim leader said what is also at stake is the most vulnerable populations being victimized by the 1970s Memorandum-200 advanced by former U.S Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to cull the world population by two to three billion people—which is now policy.
“I’m about to ask the government to relieve our brothers and sisters in Cuba of the burden, the unjust burden, of your embargo because we’re not going to take no medicine that you, the killers of all of us,” Minister Farrakhan warned.
He cited America’s record of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment; giving the Native Americans blankets contaminated with smallpox and the polio vaccine that was contaminated with SV-40.
“How could you trust them with a vaccine after you know what they have done and that they are capable of doing it again, on a bigger and broader level?” said the Minister.
The Minister cautioned that any efforts of forced vaccinations would be a “declaration of war” and he stated we want what Cuba is developing against Covid-19. “We want Alpha Interferon 2B, if that is what is good against Covid.”
Mr. Egbuna said the movement is “riding the momentum” that led to lifting imperialist sanctions on other countries like Eritrea, Zimbabwe, and Venezuela. He explained these movements represented “diplomatic terrorism of the highest order” and a “White supremacist obsession” with policing the world.
“We thank the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan for using his platform to promote this effort,” said Mr. Egbuna.