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US blocks sale of ventilators to Cuba after acquiring medical companies

WASHINGTON has been accused of showing “contempt for life and hatred of the Cuban people” after it bought up companies making ventilators and immediately banned them from exporting the machines to Cuba and Venezuela.

Cuba said it had tried to obtain medical supplies from 60 US companies for the treatment of coronavirus patients but had been ignored by all but two, with the US blockade restricting even emergency material.

The Cuban government said that in “another twist of this genocidal, inhumane policy,” US firm Vyaire Medical had acquired ventilator manufacturers IMTMedical and Acutronic, which immediately announced and end to all dealings with the socialist island.

“Unfortunately, the corporate guideline we have today is to suspend all commercial relations with Medicuba,” the companies said in a statement.

Havana blasted the six-decade-old blockade, which “has just denied our public health system access to two regular suppliers of ventilators, key to the care of the most serious cases of the disease.”

World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently called for sanctions to be put “in quarantine," because “thousands of lives are at stake” in the global Covid-19 pandemic.

But the US has instead increased pressure on a number of countries where it wants to see regime change, tightening the screw on Cuba, Venezuela, Iran and Nicaragua.

Washington blocked a Chinese shipment of crucial medical aid from reaching Cuba earlier this month.

On Monday, organisations including the Community of Latin American & Caribbean states, Organisation of American States, the WHO, the Pan American Health Organisation and the Sao Paulo Forum wrote to the United Nations calling for coercive sanctions to be lifted.

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