As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the world, Cleveland Peace Action calls upon the United States and Israel to immediately end the blockades or embargoes that they have imposed. It is critical that badly-needed medical supplies and personnel be able to enter all nations in order to treat people and families suffering from the virus. End the blockades and embargoes now!
*****In Iran, there are almost 70,000 confirmed cases of the virus with almost 5,000 deaths. The US maintains sanctions against this country after the President Trump tore up an arms control treaty negotiated by the Obama Administration.
*****In Gaza, Israel maintains a 13-year-old blockade of this tiny strip of land that is home to more than 2 million people. With many hospitals destroyed due to Israeli bombing and medical supplies kept out by the blockade, the people of Gaza face a grim future as the virus begins to spread in this densely-populated land and there are about 60 ventilators.
*****In the West Bank, Israel’s military occupation of this territory has led to the closure of several hospitals and as Palestinian farmers shelter in place, Illegal settlers attack their fields, olive trees and farm animals. The entire area has fewer than 6,500 hospital beds and 200 ventilators to serve a population of more than 3 million people.
*****In Venezuela, the efforts by the United States to impose an embargo on this nation in order to overthrow the socialist government of Nicholas Madura have led to a sharp reduction in Oil revenues which, in turn, hampers efforts to fight the spread of the virus. Added to this is the ongoing price war among Oil producing nations which further cuts this struggling nation’s revenue.
*****For almost 60 years, the United States has maintained an embargo of Cuba which, with its highly-regarded health care system and medical school, has, for decades, sent doctors to other nations to fight disease and malnutrition. On March 25th, with Cuba ready to send doctors to hard-hit nations like Italy and Spain, the US government warned nations not to accept Cuban medical assistance.
While the embargoes and blockades that the United States and Israel have imposed on peoples around the world have always been inhumane, now in this time of a pandemic, these policies have become deadly. Cleveland Peace Action demands that they be ended now!