Editors’ note: It’s all well and good that the Buena Vista Social Club is performing at the White House, but the US corporate media are conveying  the impression that a new post-blockade Cuba policy is already in effect. That is far from the case. 

October 19, 2015

Representaties of Cuban civil society, along with those from regional and international organizations with headquarters here, on October 15, reiterated their condemnation of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the U.S. on Cuba, for more than 50 years.

“The blockade must cease now,” were the watchwords of the 12th Forum, sponsored by the United Nations Association in Cuba, and held at the Ministry of Public Health (Minsap) in Havana. Coming together were figures from the areas of health, education and construction, in addition to trade unionists and student activists who insisted on an end to the hostile blockade policy which has caused damages worth at least 121,192,000,000 dollars, at current prices.

Specialists in several branches of medicine presented an audiovisual to show the impact of the blockade, which is estimated to have reached 2.54 million dollars in this field since its inception, in addition to the incalculable human harm caused Cuban families.

Minsap official Odalys Montesinos spoke about difficulties the National Electro-medical Center has faced in attempting to acquire spare parts and refractors for equipment manufactured by the U.S. company Phillips, since there is no delivery service available between the two countries.

The acquisition of these necessary items is more expensive and time-consuming, as a result of the blockade, since they must be ordered and dispatched from Europe, sent back across the Atlantic to Cuba, in most cases. She reported that the blockade has hampered the National Medical Genetics Center’s ability to purchase the latest technology, thus obliging the institution to send samples to be tested for certain genetic diseases to other countries for analysis, generating extra costs.

The Medicuba company reported that its brachytherapy equipment for cancer patients cannot function properly without the radioactive isotope Iridium-192, the principal supplier of which is based in the United States.

Kenny Matos, representing the children’s José Martí Pioneers Organization and a seventh-grader at the Solidarity with Panama School, thanked the Revolution for the support it has provided to people with disabilities, despite the challenges caused by the blockade.

Dr. Luís Solá, president of the Cuban Society for International Law and the National Jurists Union, commented on the illogical maintenance of this economic war at the current time, and the right of the Cuban people to be compensated for damages caused.

Dr. Teresa Viera, director of the Center for the Study of Youth, during the forum’s closing session, emphasized the participation of young people and added that Cuban youth are committed to the revolutionary process. To close the event, participants approved a resolution reiterating the demand that the United States government end the coercive blockade policy, which remains in full force.