Friday, February 17, 2006
After a year-long investigation, the American Association for World Health has determined that the U.S. embargo of Cuba has dramatically harmed the health and nutrition of large numbers of ordinary Cuban citizens. As documented by the attached report, it is our expert medical opinion that the U.S. embargo has caused a significant rise in suffering-and even deaths-in Cuba. For several decades the U.S. embargo has imposed significant financial burdens on the Cuban health care system. But since 1992 the number of unmet medical needs patients going without essential drugs or doctors performing medical procedures without adequate equipment-has sharply accelerated. This trend is directly linked to the fact that in 1992 the U.S. trade embargo-one of the most stringent embargoes of its kind, prohibiting the sale of food and sharply restricting the sale of medicines and medical equipment-was further tightened by the 1992 Cuban Democracy Act.
Finally, the AAWH wishes to emphasize the stringent nature of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba. Few other embargoes in recent history - including those targeting Iran, Libya, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, Chile or Iraq - have included an outright ban on the sale of food. Few other embargoes have so restricted medical commerce as to deny the availability of life-saving medicines to ordinary citizens. Such an embargo appears to violate the most basic international charters and conventions governing human rights, including the United Nations charter, the charter of the Organization of American States, and the articles of the Geneva Convention governing the treatment of civilians during wartime.