Cuba: between the stranded tanker and the cruise ship of solidarity

2020-03-18 11:20:02 /

Cuba: between the stranded tanker and the cruise ship of solidarity

The news went viral: Cuba authorized the docking of the British cruise ship MS Braemar with five confirmed cases of Covid-19 and dozens of people isolated due to symptoms associated with this pandemic disease.

On board about a thousand people long to touch port, this was denied in several Caribbean countries, some of which later presented cases of the new coronavirus, including death.

'At the request of the British government, Cuba has authorized the cruise ship MS Braemar to dock in the country, with a small number of travelers diagnosed with Covid-19', Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez tweeted.

He added that, together with the authorities of the European country, the safe and immediate return to the United Kingdom by air of the passengers has been organized.

Cuba will receive passengers and crew with respect for the sanitary measures established in protocols of the World Health Organization and the Cuban Ministry of Public Health, the island's Ministry of Foreign Relations said in a statement.

The Braemar was anchored in the waters of the Bahamas and has already made a bow towards the largest of the Antilles where it should arrive in the next few hours.

These are times of solidarity, of understanding health as a human right, of reinforcing international cooperation to face our common challenges, said the Cuban Foreign Ministry, arguing the decision of Havana to host the British cruise ship, which has been seeking refuge for weeks like a ghost ship.

The shipping company Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, owner of the ship, confirmed that MS Braemar 'is heading to Cuba, where all its guests will be repatriated to the United Kingdom by air'.

According to the shipping company, on board the cruise ship with 682 passengers and 381 crew members 'there are 22 guests and 21 crew members who are in isolation, after showing symptoms of the flu,' including 'the five people who tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus'.

Its passengers include mainly British, but also citizens of Canada, Australia, Belgium, Colombia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden.

Anthea Guthrie, a passenger from Braemar, along with her photo wrote on Facebook: 'The captain reported that we will be flying home from Cuba. We are very grateful to your country and we will never forget how hard it must have worked with our government to achieve it. Thank you'.

Cuba, subjected to the United States blockade that even prevents it from accessing medicines and health technologies, has five confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, but its borders remain open to travelers and tourists.

The island implements a national and intersectoral program to face Covid-19, in which the population has a leading role, amid a strong information campaign that includes the media, schools, workplaces and places of residence on the prevention measures.

The country has arranged hospitals for the isolation and care of people with symptoms of respiratory diseases. The care, from admission, exams and medications, are free.

All this despite the fact that the economic, financial, commercial and other areas enforced by the Donald Trump government are increasing by the day, with significant losses for the neighboring small island of the Caribbean.

The arrival of the Braemar contrasts with the prohibition decreed by Washington in June 2019 and which prohibits cruise trips to the island.

Such measure was decreed along with a package that also prevents cultural and educational trips from contact with the Cuban people (known as town to town) and provides for damages to transport services, remittances, banking, commerce, among others.

Virtually Cuba is subjected to a naval blockade regarding the supply of the fuels that the country needs.

Cubametales and Corporación Panamericana S.A, in charge of buying energy carriers, are in a long list of Cuban companies that Washington prohibits commercial activities.

The intention of the White House is to cut off the light to Cuba and thereby stop school activities, hospitals and the economy, in addition to causing blackouts in the residential sector. In short, make life hell for Cubans.

The height of the harassment resulted from a tanker who, with fuel paid by the Cuban government, refused to touch the island's port after the owner company received threats from the United States, which thus acts against shipping companies and insurance companies involved in supplying fuel to the largest of the Antilles.

Cuba, with diminished finances and its sources of income pursued, had to buy the ship in question with the cargo included.

(Prensa Latina)

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