The Cuban scientific community demanded an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on the island – as well as destabilizing and interventionist actions – as vital to advancing toward full normalization of relations in conditions of absolute equality between the two nations.
In a special session held October 25, in the Cuban Academy of Sciences’ (ACC) historic Paraninfo facility, sector representatives approved a declaration stating that the blockade has been, and continues to be, a key obstacle to scientific development on the island.
According to the text, the blockade prevents national scientific institutions from acquiring equipment, materials and other resources vital for research from the U.S. market, and from purchasing such items from subsidiaries based in third countries, or any other supplier if the item in question contains over 10% U.S. made or patented parts.
As such, the sector is unable to access various state-of-the-art technologies, suffers increased purchase costs and shipping delays, as well as difficulties in obtaining replacements parts and receiving post-sale services.
As the ACC declaration states, the blockade also limits various types of scientific and technological exchanges between academic and commercial institutions from both countries, as well as the development of joint projects. Meanwhile, Cuba’s inability to use the dollar causes problems when realizing transactions between international funds and Cuban entities, which are often retained by banks for fear of being sanctioned by the U.S.
During the encounter, academics, directors of scientific institutions, and researchers affiliated with different branches of the field, denounced the aims laid out in President Barack Obama’s new Policy Directive, toward promoting changes within the county and destroying the project undertaken by the Cuban people to build a prosperous and sustainable socialist society.
In this regard, Dr. Olga Fernández, from the ACC’s Social Sciences department, emphasized that the aforementioned document features vestiges of the old interventionist policy, and warned against attempts by the U.S. to try to divide us as a people, as a nation; to try to pit civil society against the State, to sow division among the current generations of Cubans.
For Rolando Pérez DSc., from the Molecular Immunology Center, collaboration in the sphere of cancer research, and the fact that Cuban-made pharmaceutical products to fight this disease are undergoing clinical trials by U.S. institutions, which could have a positive impact on U.S. public opinion, and thus contribute to increasing pressure on Congress to lift the blockade.
Cuban science has the potential to act as a sword and shield in this harsh battle toward the definitive lifting of this inhumane practice, he noted.