Cuban political and socio-economic situation stable despite US sanctions and the pandemic


Néstor Enrique Torres Olivera, Consul General of the Republic of Cuba in Shanghai

During a recent meeting with researchers and the press, Néstor Enrique Torres Olivera, Consul General of the Republic of Cuba in Shanghai, presented the political, social and economic situation in Cuba.

The consul general made the speech during a visit to the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Think Tank Foundation on Tuesday.

As elsewhere, the pandemic is a major challenge for both the Cuban people and the government, with daily increments of confirmed cases from 8,000 to 9,000 and deaths from 70 to 80. According to the latest updates, there are had a total of 403,000 confirmed. cases and 2,900 deaths.

While the numbers look formidable, the death rate of 0.72% is quite low compared to the average of 2% elsewhere in the world, the consul general said.

First of all, Cuba owes its successful efforts to contain the pandemic to its developed medical care system. Cuba is the only Latin American country to have developed its own vaccines, with a total of five COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Two of them, Soberana 02 and Abdala, have already been authorized for emergency use.

Of Cuba’s 11 million people, approximately 2 million have been vaccinated with three vaccines and 9 million Cubans have received a vaccine. Clinical tests suggest that one jab of one of the two vaccines is 91% effective, with two jabs at 92.28%, well above the global average of around 50%. Significantly, these vaccines are safe for pregnant women and young people.

The rather gruesome description of the Cuban health situation, as given by the United States, is totally inconsistent with reality and only provides another subterfuge for the United States to attempt the so-called humanitarian interference in Cuba.

Then the Consul General explained what happened on July 11 in Cuba, when Cubans took to the streets in some towns. The protests were on a fairly limited scale, and later were more than overshadowed by the pro-government protests. While some protesters vandalized and were implicated in damage to public property, there were more who had grievances to voice over the lack of food, medical supplies and electricity. These shortfalls should be blamed directly on the economic sanctions imposed on Cuba by the United States since 1962. The pandemic and the combined sanctions have had a serious impact on the normal functioning of the economy, with the United States seeking to arm the pandemic against Cuba.

During his four-year tenure, Trump initiated 243 sanctions against Cuba, which dramatically worsened the economic situation in the pandemic-plagued country. The United States has also provided international support and financial aid to organizations hostile to the Cuban government for the express purpose of sowing unrest and chaos there.

The United States has also engaged in a media campaign against Cuba, alleging that the Cuban government has lost its legitimacy for mismanaging the health crisis, although the United States refrains from mentioning its interference. The US government has also engaged in the dissemination of disinformation in an attempt to tarnish Cuba’s image.

Effective leadership

In fact, under the effective leadership of the Cuban Communist Party, all government organs and agencies operate in an orderly fashion, with the state and government firmly in control.

The Cuban government has always been committed to improving the livelihoods of the population and is carrying out a criminal investigation into those involved in the violence that resulted in property damage during the July protests. Of course, the process is completely open and transparent.

Despite US sanctions and the ravages of the pandemic, the Cuban government has always insisted on economic development, pushing forward its socio-economic reforms to meet the people’s aspirations for a better life.

Previously, the country was dominated by large state-owned enterprises, but now incentives are being created to encourage private and small businesses. In the past, the salary was more or less fixed, now it is becoming more flexible, which leads to “more salary for more work”.

If the government listens more to the voice of the local population, as it does now, the needs of the population stand a better chance of being met. The pandemic has dramatically affected the lives of people, especially those who are economically vulnerable.

In short, said the consul general, Cuban problems should be dealt with by the Cuban people. He also said that the good relations between China and Cuba have helped foster good mutual relations in other aspects.

Cuba has participated in all previous China international import exhibitions. Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel attended the first CIIE held in Shanghai in 2018. Other exhibitions from Cuba will be presented in a CIIE pavilion this year.

The exhibition has already become a good platform to showcase Cuban products, including cigars, rum, medical products, honey and shrimp.

Given Cuba’s advance in medical and pharmaceutical research, the country is also seeking cooperation in related fields.

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