Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 12:48:19 -0500 (CDT)
From: email@example.com (Rich Winkel)
Subject: Cuba: World Health Org letter on US Blockade
/** reg.puertorico: 620.0 **/
** Topic: Cuba: World Health letter to UN -bl **
** Written 1:29 PM Apr 20, 1999 by firstname.lastname@example.org in cdp:reg.puertorico **
subject: Cuba: World Health letter to UN -blockade
GRANMA INTERNATIONAL 1998. ELECTRONIC EDITION. Havana, Cuba
Support in political and media circles for UN vote
World Health Organization letter to UN on the negative effects of
the blockade for the Cuban population
20 April 1999
WIRE stories from various parts of the world recently reported on
numerous expressions in support of the recent UN vote approving
Cuba's anti-blockade resolution and, consequently, in favor of a
change in U.S. policy toward the island.
One dispatch from Santiago de Chile reflects the headlines and
coverage recently devoted to the subject by that country's most
important media, particularly in reference to the General Assembly
vote: 157 in favor, two against and 12 abstentions.
The daily with the largest circulation, El Mercurio, published an
article on the adoption of the resolution, which demands the lifting
of the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the island,
stressing Chile's positive vote and criticizing the U.S. failure to
respond to seven consecutive UN resolutions on the issue.
Similar references also appeared in the daily La Tercera, which
highlighted the negative impact of the Helms-Burton Act and its
extraterritorial nature, in violation of the norms of freedom of
trade among nations.
Chilean radio and television networks likewise commented on the
island's victory in the UN and generally perceived it as a further
demonstration of U.S. isolation in terms of its Cuba policy.
COMMENTS FROM THE DOMINICAN PRESS
The Dominican press also highlighted the results of the UN debate on
the issue. "UN in Favor of Lifting the Embargo on Cuba," read a two-
column leader on the front page of the Listn Diario, which heads its
international section with a five-column headline.
Another headline states: "Review of Embargo Creates Controversy" in
the United States, in reference to a proposal from various U.S.
public figures, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger,
aimed at reviewing Washington's Cuba policy.
Analyst Adolfo Valenzuela considers it a self-criticism on the part
of the United States that voices like that of Kissinger, "one of the
brains during the torturous years of 1970-80, are being raised to
propose a commission to review the policy of isolating Cuba."
DEPUTY PERCEIVES DANGER FOR WASHINGTON
Dominican Deputy Rafael Taveras stated that the UN General Assembly
resolution signifies that "the world has said no to that policy."
Taveras, spokesperson for the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) in
the Chamber of Deputies, affirmed that the resolution's success
demonstrates that "the arrogance and the stupidity of U.S. policy
could not be more apparent."
In a statement to Prensa Latina, Taveras, who is also vice president
of the PRD - the leading Dominican party - noted that there is no
reason to continue maintaining a policy rejected by the entire world,
and praised the position of the two former secretaries of state and
one former secretary of defense who, together with other U.S.
personalities, are advocating a review of Cuba policy.
"I believe that we will witness an accelerated thawing of the U.S.
blockade of Cuba, fortunately for the United States, which is the
loser in all this," stated the deputy, adding that such a thawing
"would be to the good of the two countries and Latin America"
THE BOLIVIAN MEDIA
Representatives from diverse political tendencies in Bolivia welcomed
the overwhelming UN victory of the anti-blockade resolution.
Senator Daniel Oropeza, a member of the ruling party, expressed
special satisfaction at the outcome of the vote, in his role as
president of the Bolivia-Cuba inter-parliamentary league.
For his part, former Foreign Minister Guillermo Bedregal commented
that the Cuban victory is a healthy symptom of the consolidation of
democratic positions within the international community, as well as
of respect for sovereignty and self-determination.
"We have already lost count of the number of times that U.S. policy
on Cuba has been defeated," stated left-wing deputy and campesino
leader Alejo Vliz.
Meanwhile, Milton Gmez, Bolivia's most important trade union leader,
also welcomed the recent UN condemnation.
RUSSIA BACKS UN DECISION
The condemnation of the U.S. blockade of Cuba in the General Assembly
demonstrates the need to do away with that policy, which is a remnant
of the cold war, the Russian Foreign Ministry affirmed.
The virtually unanimous international approval of the resolution
rejecting the policy maintained by Washington against the Cuban
people for over 30 years is a call for the normalization of relations
between Havana and Washington, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman
Vladimir Rajmanin affirmed.
NEGATIVE EFFECT ON HEALTH, SAYS WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the U.S. blockade
of Cuba is inevitably having a negative effect on the health of the
In a letter directed to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, to be
incorporated into a report on the fulfillment of the resolution
adopted by the General Assembly in 1997, the WHO makes reference to
the country's difficulties in maintaining its medical care programs
as a result of U.S. restrictions.
It also reiterates the fact that, even though the blockade's
provisions allow U.S. companies and their subsidiaries to export
equipment, supplies and medicines for humanitarian and medical
reasons, the requirements for obtaining export licenses lead to
delays, for which reason the commercial sector rarely makes the
It notes that Cuban patients with heart and kidney diseases and other
chronic conditions are thus being denied the latest equipment and
medicines needed for their optimum treatment.