October 21, 2020
Yesterday a resolution supporting medical and scientific collaboration between the City of Oakland California and the Country of Cuba to address the COVID-19 health crisis was passed unanimously. The resolution also urged the U.S. Congress to remove restrictions on collaboration by suspending economic and travel sanctions against Cuba.
City council member Dan Kalb from District 1, who introduced the resolution, acknowledged during the council meeting that the city had pressing and important issues like homelessness to be focusing on but that the resolution opening up the possibility of mutually beneficial collaboration with Cuba was important considering the work that the island nation has been doing towards world health.
Oakland resident Alicia Jrapko who is a co-chair of the National Network on Cuba and currently part of the Saving Lives Campaign said, “We could learn a lot from the accomplishments of Cuba’s approach to the Covid 19 virus both in their country and around the world. Cuba has a lower infection rate than most countries in the northern hemisphere and Cubans are 42 times less likely to contract the virus than people in the U.S. In collaborating with Cuba we will show people in this country the humanistic approach Cuba has to fight the pandemic.”
Helene Maxwell, another Oakland resident who commented in favor of the resolution, referred to the importance of the resolution, “Especially in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is unconscionable, that because of the U.S. blockade of Cuba, patients in the U.S. are denied access to medicines that are available in every other country. Oakland’s approval of this resolution for medical and scientific collaboration between the City of Oakland and Cuba is a first step in ending this madness”
Oakland now joins a growing number of cities and organizations around the country including in the San Francisco Bay Area where the cities of Richmond, Berkeley, San Francisco, and the Sacramento Central Labor Council AFL-CIO who advocate for the concept of friendship and solidarity with the island have passed similar resolutions.