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Cuba hits out at US's ‘politically calculated and opportunistic’ actions during pandemic

CUBA has hit out at the United States’ international response to the coronavirus crisis, branding its actions “politically calculated and opportunistic.”

Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez criticised the Trump administration’s pronouncements and actions of the US government, warning: “With the [US presidential] election in mind, the country is today the epicentre [of the Covid-19 pandemic] and threatens millions.”

Washington has come under fire for using the global health emergency to exert pressure on countries, including Venezuela and Iran, where it seeks regime change. Both have been targeted with increased sanctions and threats.

Last week, the US designated Venezuela a “narco-terrorist state”  and placed a $15 million (£12.1m) bounty on the head of democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro.

Iran has appealed for sanctions to be lifted as they restrict its ability to buy urgently needed medical equipment to fight the Covid-19 outbreak, which has caused thousands of deaths in the country.

In a statement, the Cuban government denounced Washington’s  “irrational and always selfish stance,” contrasting it with Havana’s sending of aid and medical teams to nearly 50 countries despite the socialist island being “poor and besieged almost to the point of asphyxiation by the United States.”

The US has now become the epicentre of the virus outbreak, with about 163,500 cases and more than 3,000 deaths. President Donald Trump faces growing pressure over his lack of preparedness and inability to cope with the crisis.

He has continued to clash with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio as the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the surrounding state soared to 1,218.

Mr de Blasio has called for more help in fighting Covid-19, asking for extra ambulances, volunteers and protective equipment for health workers as New York works to turn hotels into hospitals and its emergency services struggle to cope.

Workers at General Electric walked out on Monday, demanding that the company switch production from engines to ventilators, after management announced that 2,600 staff would be sacked and half of its maintenance workers temporarily laid off to save up to $1 billion (£810m).

Mr Trump has sought to cover his inadequacies by leading an increasingly hostile anti-China propaganda campaign, fuelled by fears that Washington is losing its dominant influence on the world stage.

International press organisations, including the BBC, have joined a media war by labelling Chinese humanitarian aid an attempt to build “soft power” and accusing Beijing of a virus cover-up.

Despite this, teams of Chinese medics have arrived in both Britain and the US to help combat the disease.

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