By Alex Enumah in Abuja
As the United Nations General Assembly meets today to revisit its resolution on United States embargo on Cuba, Human Rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana has enjoined the government of Nigeria, Africa and lovers of peace and democracy world over to vote en mass against the blockade in order to restore the dignity, independence and right to self determination of Cuba.
At the last general assembly, the UN for the 24th consecutive year in a resolution condemned the US embargo; the resolution was adopted by 193 members of the General Assembly with 191 voting in favour of lifting the ban.
Falana, while predicating his call on what he described as the immense contribution cuba has made not just to Nigeria and Africa but the entire human race, particularly in the field of medicine, argued that a country such as Cuba that has her medical personnel in almost all part of the world, helping people suffering one epidemic or the other; should not be allowed to be trodden under feet by the anti retrogressive policy of the US which according to him, has since failed to achieve desired results.
The human rights activist who was speaking at a press briefing organized by the Cuban Embassy in Abuja, yesterday to solicit Nigeria’s support at the UN General Assembly, to vote for an end to the US embargo over Cuba, wondered why African countries would continue to spend huge amount of dollars yearly for the acquisition of mosquitoes nets and insecticides from America and the west, whereas a simple collaboration with Cuba can completely eradicate malaria from the continent.
“When we had Ebola Cuba sent 265 medical personnel to Liberia and Sierra Leone and we were able to defeat Ebola. This shows the level of medical feat Cuba has attained, and Nigeria stands to benefit from Cuba in the fight against malaria because they have developed a vaccine that can abolish malaria.
“So instead of bringing bed nets and insecticides, we can get Cuba to eradicate malaria in Nigeria and avoid the over one million deaths annually in Nigeria due to malaria”, he said.
He appealed to Obama to go beyond mere restoration of diplomatic ties with Cuba and remove all hindrances that are impeding on smooth and effective bilateral relations. “The US is rich in resources and Cuba is rich in terms of ideas and medicine, so there is need for the two countries to work together for the benefit of humanity”.
Earlier, Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, Carlos Trejo Sosa appealed to Nigeria to support her cause as the world body meets this Wednesday, 26 October to decide on the matter.
He lamented that contrary to wide held belief the restoration of diplomatic relation with the US under the Obama Administration had not helped at all as the laws blocking economic flows between the two countries still remains.
He said, “In spite of the reiterated calls of president Obama on congress to put an end to the blockade and the measures passed until now by the White House, which are positive but insufficient, the financial persecution of Cuban transactions abroad and the extra-territorial scope of the blockade have remained unchanged”.
While insisting that the total elimination of the blockade is essential for the emancipation of the people of Cuba, the envoy expressed confidence, the international community would as usual rally round Cuba to ensure that the US embargo is finally lifted this time around.
The economic damage of the ban which was placed about 55 years ago is estimated to be around $121b.