13 Nov MEDICC Says Trump’s Cuba Policy Punishes Both US and Cuban People
Oakland, CA, November 13, 2017 – With the Trump administration’s new, regressive Cuba travel, trade and investment regulations, which took effect November 9, US Cuba policy has taken a giant step backwards. The regulations further restrict the right of US people to travel to Cuba, exchange with Cuban colleagues and institutions, and do business with Cuban enterprises, both public and private. They also punish Cubans in all walks of life, further denying them the hard currency needed to develop their national and household economies.
MEDICC Board Chair Dr. Bourne said: “MEDICC deplores this punitive shift and the negative effects it will have on Cubans as well as US citizens, who stand to benefit from Cuban innovations, programs and strategies in health, biotechnology and disaster preparedness.” He also noted that “the Trump policy attempts to reverse much of the Obama Administration’s 2014 opening to Cuba. It is anti-engagement and will further isolate the United States from its own citizens and the world, the majority favoring an end to the 55-year US embargo on the island nation. In that sense, in no way does this policy reversal represent the will of the American people.” Both the latest polls in the US and the overwhelming vote at the UN General Assembly on November 1, calling for an end to the US embargo, bear out his comment.
Travel for professional research and meetings, as well as people-to-people group travel remain legal. However, MEDICC Executive Director Dr. C. William Keck, honored last week in Atlanta by the American Public Health Association for his lifetime service in public health, said: “Clearly, these new regulations will make health cooperation more difficult. Nonetheless, MEDICC will continue its programs and deepen our relationships with Cuban professionals and encourage our US colleagues to do the same.” He also stressed that “the great losses and very different responses to the devastating natural disasters in the US, Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico, only serve to demonstrate how vital it is that we work together across agencies and borders for the health and benefit of all people in our hemisphere and beyond.”
MEDICC is a founding member of RESPECT (Responsible and Ethical Cuba Travel), a 150-member association of Cuba travel providers. In September RESPECT defended the right of US people to visit Cuba, reminded the public that Cuba is one of the world’s safest travel destinations and rejected the announced Trump policy changes.
Founded in 1997, MEDICC is a nonprofit organization based in Oakland, California that has worked to promote US-Cuba health cooperation and highlight Cuba’s public health contributions to global health equity and universal health. MEDICC organizes insightful trips to Cuba for US health policymakers, educators and practitioners; serves as an institutional bridge-builder between US, Cuban and global health institutions and organizations; links US community leaders in a national network of Community Partnerships for Health Equity, bringing home insights from Cuba to innovate for better health; publishes MEDICC Review, carrying peer-reviewed Cuban and other developing-country research and perspectives; assists US students and graduates of Havana’s Latin American School of Medicine to return home to practice in provider-shortage areas, and supports US policies that facilitate greater health cooperation with Cuba to benefit people in both countries. MEDICC also produced and distributed the award-winning film ¡Salud! about Cuban public health and its global cooperation.