St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has called on the leaders of Africa and the Caribbean to support Cuba as the country tries to contain a surge of coronavirus (COVID-19) along with the negative economic fallout of the pandemic and the US trade embargo.
He made the comment as he addressed the first Caribbean Community-Africa Forum this morning.
“We recall from the Caribbean, the contribution of the heroic and selfless nation of Cuba. This nation shed its blood in the liberation of southern Africa,” Gonsalves said.
“We all know the selflessness of Cuba. It demands of us today, at this summit, that we give a practical commitment to assist Cuba, which is currently being besieged by the twin challenges of the illegal economic blockade by imperialism and the ravages of COVID-19. Cuba will not ask but it is our duty to assist and to do so with urgency.”
St Vincent and the Grenadines and many Caribbean islands benefited from the service of over 2,000 Cuban medical officers.
The embargo prevents American individuals and companies from trading with the Cuban Government.
These sanctions and their crippling effects led Cubans to take to the streets in July to protest against the government.
At least one person died and several others were arrested and charged.
COVID-19 cases on the communist island have surged in recent months taking the total infection figure to over 690,000 cases.
Over the last month, 2,400 people have died of COVID-19 complications.
Cuba is not part of the international COVID-19 vaccination effort and is using vaccines developed locally.
The two-dose Abdala and Soberana vaccines, which are not recognised by the World Health Organisation, reportedly has an efficacy rate of more than 90 per cent.
Over 4 million Cubans have been vaccinated against the virus.