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Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 12:48:19 -0500 (CDT)
From: rich@pencil.math.missouri.edu (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Cuba: World Health Org letter on US Blockade
Article: 61722
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.20211.19990422121733@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

/** reg.puertorico: 620.0 **/
** Topic: Cuba: World Health letter to UN -bl **
** Written 1:29 PM Apr 20, 1999 by jclancy@pop.pegasus.com.au in cdp:reg.puertorico **
from: jclancy@peg.apc.org
subject: Cuba: World Health letter to UN -blockade
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

Granma International
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.


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 Listn 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."


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"


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 V‰liz.

Meanwhile, Milton Gmez, Bolivia's most important trade union leader, also welcomed the recent UN condemnation.


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.


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 island's population.

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 initial application.

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.