Several U.S. organizations asked the government of that country to temporarily suspend the economic sanctions against Cuba, in view of the threat of the coronavirus pandemic caused by COVID-19.
In a statement issued this Thursday, the organizations called for the elimination of ceilings imposed by the Donald Trump administration on sending remittances to Cuba, as well as the sanctions that prevent donations of medicines and medical equipment and those that restrict financial transactions.
The U.S. government should issue a time-bound suspension of sanctions on Cuba to facilitate the flow of desperately needed humanitarian and medical supplies to the Cuban people as they cope with the global COVID-19 pandemic: https://t.co/qfJOzYjqb8
— WOLA (@WOLA_org) March 26, 2020
The statement, signed by eight organizations based in the United States, asks Washington to temporarily eliminate sanctions that prevent aid from other countries to Cuba, including that which prevents sales to the island of equipment containing 10% of the parts or pieces with U.S. patent.
The statement added that the U.S. government’s measures cause many foreign companies to hesitate to do business with Cuba.
Lastly, it requested the suspension of sanctions that restrict support for the Cuban people, alleging that although there is an exemption to export certain items to the island, the U.S. Department of Commerce requires exporting entities to demonstrate that these goods will only benefit the Cuban people, and not the government or Communist Party of Cuba officials.
The organizations involved in the petition are: Caribbean Educational and Baseball Foundation (CEBF), Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA), Cuba Educational Travel (CET), Cuba Study Group, Engage Cuba, Latin America Working Group, National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and the Washington Office for Latin America (WOLA).
They warned that the coronavirus is likely to cause serious consequences for the island’s economy, since its main source of economic income, tourism, is paralyzed by the pandemic.
Furthermore, they explain that urgent action is essential to guarantee the protection of the Cuban population in the face of the economic crisis that the island is already experiencing and to minimize the effects of COVID-19 in the country.