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Editorial: Covid-19 and Cuba's Criminal Regime

The situation is criminal: at pharmacies belonging to the State, none of them are selling or have sold sanitary masks.

A Cuban teenager receives the Soberana 02 vaccine candidate.
A Cuban teenager receives the Soberana 02 vaccine candidate. Reuters

In the last days Cuba has recorded record numbers of new cases of Covid-19, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) noting a "dramatic increase" in the number of those infected in the country. On July 19 the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) reported a figure of around 4,000 infections per one million inhabitants during that week, which is nine times above the world average.

Cuba now has the highest Covid-19 contagion rate in the Americas. At the outset of the pandemic the regime's authorities boasted about the country's prevention system, their propaganda once again portraying the island as a medical power. They then sought to publicize vaccine candidates that they tried to pass off as proven.

Throughout the world, one of the elementary tools for the prevention of Covid-19, one of the simplest and most effective ways to stem its spread, is through the use of sanitary masks. In Cuba, the situation is criminal: where all the pharmacies belong to the State, none of them is sold or has sold these masks. They have not been freely distributed to the population, and are not even sold at stores that accept foreign currency. But the use of masks was declared mandatory anyway, and failure to wear them is punishable by fines.

The Cuban regime treats epidemiological protection as a personal matter, up to unprotected Cubans. It uses public funds to create vaccine candidates, while neglecting the most crucial prophylactic measure. It develops these vaccines because it knows that their exportation will be a good business, apparently not caring how many Cubans are infected and die because they did not even receive a modicum of protection.

The revolutionary regime's criminality is evidenced not only by its repression and violence, but also by how it ignores the public's plight in the midst of a pandemic. MINSAP authorities play a prominent role in this crime, placing politics ahead of health, while the PAHO, alarmed at the rate of infections on the island, should make resounding demands on the Cuban government, reminding it of the value of human life.

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