Amid the 2019 Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Cuba has sent its medical brigades to its regional neighbors, such as Jamaica, Grenada, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. It has also extended solidarity and assistance to countries gravely affected by the virus, such as Italy. The anti-viral drug Interferon Alfa 2B has also been used in countries heavily affected by the pandemic.
The following is a letter written by the Philippines-Cuba Friendship Association (AMISTAD), calling to the Cuban people and government for “urgent medical assistance” to the Philippines. The AMISTAD is seeking organisations to support the Appeal addressed to the Instituto Cubano de Amistad con los Pueblos (ICAP, Cuban Institute for Friendship with the People) and to the Ambassador of Cuba to the Philippines.
You may show your support to the Appeal by answering the Google Form here. Aside from this, you may also send statements of support to firstname.lastname@example.org. These will be forwarded to the AMISTAD who will attach the statements to the Appeal.
The Appeal is in the context of the militarist response of the national government in the Philippines. Currently, state response is not oriented to mass testing and health-based solutions despite recommendations of the World Health Organisation, and mainly consists of a lockdown for the archipelago’s largest island of Luzon, and new emergency powers for the President.
For IBON International, people-led international friendship associations such as the AMISTAD, and this association’s current efforts, are manifestations of people’s initiative to build solidarity and to assert social and economic rights in such times as the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
AN URGENT APPEAL TO THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE
Greetings of Solidarity,
The Philippines-Cuba Friendship Association (AMISTAD) is seeking the urgent assistance from the people and government of Cuba in the light of the COVID-19 contagion spreading exponentially in the Philippines. The massive poverty and ineffective medical services in the Philippines has caused a massive humanitarian problem in the country affecting the poor and the marginalised.
Right now, the government admits a very high fatality rate of more than 8% compared to the global fatality rate of more than 3%.
We take pride in how the government and people of Cuba have helped the people of Italy and China who were most affected by this epidemic. Our condition in the Philippines is expected to worsen, and the militarist kneejerk response of the government is causing draconian suffering on the populace.
It is with great urgency that we ask the Cuban people and government for immediate medical assistance, knowing full well the effective medical advances in Cuba and the production some 39 years ago of the very effective antiviral Interferon Alfa 2B. This antiviral drug is capable of supplying the deficiency in the production of Interferon which is generally attacked and decreased by the COVID-19, thus strengthening the immune system of COVID-19 positive patients. It would be very helpful in reducing the fatality rate in the country and in giving the patient a fighting chance to recover from the disease.
We shall be very grateful for any medical assistance from the government and people of Cuba to the people of the Philippines in these critical times.
Edwin de la Cruz
Norma G. Biñas
Secretary General ###