Havana, September 21.- Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic, spoke at the High Level Meeting on Prevention, Preparedness and Response to pandemics, in the General Assembly of the United Nations, in New York.
We share the shorthand versions published on the Cuban Presidency website of the Cuban Head of State's intervention at the meeting.
The COVID-19 pandemic imposed a sad and bitter lesson on us from which we are forced to learn.
It revealed the fragility of health systems and laid bare the cruelty of the inequities that characterize the world. Millions of lives were lost, most of them among the poorest and most vulnerable.
Pandemics do not distinguish borders, ideologies or levels of development, so the confrontation with them must also be global, overcoming political differences.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Government applied temporary humanitarian exemptions to countries that were victims of its unilateral coercive measures. However, it excluded Cubans from that temporary humanitarian relief.
Even worse, while the pandemic claimed millions of lives on the planet, the criminal blockade against Cuba intensified to unprecedented levels and generated difficulties and delays in the arrival of essential medical supplies and equipment to confront it, in particular, for the industrialization of the Cuban vaccines. The acquisition of medicinal oxygen in third countries and the supply of lung ventilators were even hindered.
Despite the adversities, our biopharmaceutical industry and the potential of Cuban scientists allowed us to create three vaccines and two vaccine candidates against COVID-19 in record time.
While at the worst moment of the pandemic, transnational corporations and the richest states in the West monopolized the necessary means to combat the disease, Cuba collaborated by sending 58 medical brigades to 42 countries and territories, which joined the more than 28 000 health professionals from our country who at that time provided services in 59 nations.
COVID-19 showed that global cooperation is a necessity, not a choice.
Cuba advocates the adoption of a robust international instrument for prevention, response and recovery from pandemics, under the leadership of the World Health Organization.
We call for the adoption of universal, redistributive and solidarity policies with the commitment to leave no one behind.
Our country makes its technological and scientific capabilities and human resources available to all people to help in the prevention, preparation and response to present and future pandemics.
We are ready to develop scientific and health exchanges with interested countries, and provide advice to promote international collaboration.
We also make our epidemiological, clinical and laboratory protocols available to all; the results of our research in the development of innovative next-generation medicines, and scientific research.
Each country can and should contribute what is within its reach. The benefits must be universally accessible to everyone.
To advance along that path, always count on Cuba!
Thank you very much (Applause). (ACN) (Photo: Archive)