Mar 26, 2021 by

On Friday, March 26, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously passed a resolution Medical and Scientific Collaboration Between Minneapolis and Cuba. In addition the resolution emphatically calls on Congress and President Biden “to reverse the recent State Department designation of Cuba as a ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism,’ restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba, end the decades-long economic blockade, and engage in all mutually beneficial areas of human endeavor.”

The resolution introduced by Council Member Cam Gordon and is included below.  The Minnesota Cuba Committee and Solidarity on the Americas (SCOTA) jointly advocated for this resolution. This action reiterates and expands the May 25, 2018 resolution, plus more recent efforts in the Minnesota State Legislature for normalization of US-Cuba relations and successful individual medical collaboration that saved the life of noted Cuban-born Minnesotan musician, Ignacio ‘Nachito’ Herrera.

Today’s action by the Minneapolis City Council joins 11 other municipal actions since May 5, 2020, less than a year. These resolutions advocate medical and scientific cooperation with Cuba to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, ending the extra burden placed on the Cuban people by the unilateral U.S. sanctions also known as embargo or blockade. Chicago and Cleveland City councils, like this newest action taken by Minneapolis, call on ending the blockade of Cuba.

Nine months ago Cubans living in the United States initiated monthly caravans in Miami with bikes and cars calling for bridges of love between families in the U.S and Cuba. This effort calls attention to the harm felt by their families as a result of the 240 measures instituted by the U.S. government in the last few years. On Sunday, March 28, at least 14 U.S. cities will hold activities, including two in Florida, Miami and Tampa. Together these resolutions and caravans are living proof that the U.S. economic war against Cuba is not supported by the people here.

Promoting medical and scientific collaboration between the City of Minneapolis and Cuba to address the COVID-19 pandemic and urging the Biden administration and United States Congress to remove restrictions on collaboration by suspending economic and travel sanctions against Cuba.

Whereas, the United States has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the world—30 million infected, with deaths exceeding 539,000; and

Whereas, the United States and Minnesota deaths fall disproportionately on Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities; and

Whereas, Cuba has reported 1.3 deaths per 100,000 people and the United States has reported 110 deaths per 100,000 people from COVID-19; and

Whereas, the per capita rate of total cases in the United States is 56 times the rate in Cuba and the per capita rate of total deaths is 85 times the rate of Cuba; and

Whereas, worldwide some 80 percent of COVID-19 patients in critical condition are dying; by contrast, in Cuba, 80 percent in critical and serious condition are now being saved; and

Whereas, in the face of this worldwide menace, now is the time for international cooperation and solidarity; and

Whereas, Minneapolis is home to many prestigious medical institutions, organizations, and businesses and is in a position to provide leadership to the rest of the country in medical research, treatment, and cooperation; and

Whereas, in December 2020 the University of Minnesota Department of Public Health and Department of Nursing conducted a successful virtual collaboration with the Cuban Ministry of Health with a follow up in April 2021; and

Whereas, the country of Cuba has a long history of providing international medical aid to other countries with many of its medical personnel directly involved in the fight against COVID-19 as members of the specially trained Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade against Disasters and Serious Epidemics; and

Whereas, the Medical Brigade distinguished itself in the fight against the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and stepped forward to assist in many epidemics around the world, including dengue fever, HIV, swine flu, and hepatitis; and

Whereas, since the outbreak of COVID-19, Cuba has sent 52 medical brigades equipped with Cuban pharmaceuticals to over 45 countries with requests for assistance from many more; and

Whereas, there is precedent for collaborative initiatives between Cuba and other United States cities and states, as demonstrated by the fourteen United States cities that have passed resolutions urging the United States – Cuba collaboration; and

Whereas, there have also been multi-year joint ventures between Cuba’s Center for Molecular Immunology and Buffalo’s Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in developing CIMAvax, the Cuban lung cancer vaccine, as well as a collaboration between medical personnel from Cuba and the University of Illinois on infant mortality in Chicago; and

Whereas, in 2015 the World Health Organization recognized Cuba’s medical system as a worldwide leader in biotechnology, and Cuba has made significant contributions to the international medical field, including a drug that prevents 77 percent of diabetic amputations; and

Whereas, the United States blockade of Cuba has severely restricted collaboration on scientific and medical research; and

Whereas, the people of Minneapolis and the world would benefit from Cuban biotechnical, medical, and public health expertise in combating the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic;

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved, by The City Council of The City of Minneapolis:

That the City Council directs the Minneapolis Department of Health to explore possible collaborations with Cuba regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, public health prevention methods, and treatments.

Be it further resolved that the City of Minneapolis encourages the Minnesota Health Department to explore collaborations with Cuba to jointly face the COVID-19 pandemic, including initiating knowledge transfer about Cuba’s public health prevention methods, methods for preventing infection of health workers, and innovative treatments now being used in China and elsewhere.

Be It Further Resolved that the City Council urges the United States Congress and the President to lift restrictions on access to Cuban medical expertise in order to more effectively combat the COVID-19 pandemic by suspending United States economic and travel sanctions against Cuba.

Be It Further Resolved that the City Council calls on the federal government to cease ongoing measures that deter Cuba from importing medical equipment and medicines to confront COVID-19 and attempts to stop other countries from accepting Cuban medical brigades and assistance.

Be It Further Resolved that the City Council calls on the United States Congress and the Biden administration to reverse the recent State Department designation of Cuba as a “State Sponsor of Terrorism,” restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba, end the decades-long economic blockade, and engage in all mutually beneficial areas of human endeavor.

Related Posts


Share This