Things That Matter

Mexico Sends Aid To Cuba As AMLO Says Entire Island Should Be Designated World Heritage Site

This month has seen the rise of the #SOSCuba trending on social media and anti-Cuban government protests pop up in cities around the world.

“It is the most massive popular demonstration to protest the government that we have experienced in Cuba since ’59,” said Cuban activist Carolina Barrero to The New York Times. “What has happened is enormous.”

Now, as the protests continue, Mexico is sending humanitarian aide to the island but Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador is also sending encouraging words to the Cuban regime and criticizing U.S. policy.

Mexican President AMLO sends humanitarian aid to the island after blaming U.S. policy for the uprising.

Two Mexican naval ships are on their way to Cuba after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador blamed the U.S. embargo for fomenting the biggest unrest in Cuba in decades. According to Mexico’s foreign minister, the ships left the port of Veracruz in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, taking syringes, oxygen tanks and masks along with powered milk, cans of tuna, beans, flour, cooking oil and gasoline.

The shipments exemplify Mexico’s policy of “international solidarity” and it will keep offering humanitarian aid to help Latin American and Caribbean countries tackle the coronavirus pandemic, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Most of the leaders around Latin America have split on along ideological lines in their responses to the protests in Cuba. While Chile and Peru have urged the Communist government to allow pro-democracy protests, leftist AMLO has very obviously sided with the Cuban regime.

The Mexican president also suggested that UNESCO should designate the entire island of Cuba as a World Heritage Site for its perseverance despite U.S. policy.

It was over the weekend when AMLO said that Cuba is an “example of resistance,” and proposed the entire country should be declared a World Heritage site. UNESCO usually reserves ‘world heritage’ designations for historical places. AMLO was speaking at a ceremony attended by Cuba’s foreign minister to mark the 238th birthday of Simón Bolívar, who led the fight to liberate several South American countries from Spanish rule in the early 1800s.

The Mexican leader praised Cuba’s ability to stand up to U.S. hostility since 1959. López Obrador did not mention recent street protests that were violently repressed by the Cuban government. AMLO has in the past stated his opposition to U.S. sanctions that limit commerce with the island, and said they should be ended.

Though some point out that AMLO may just be returning the favor after Cuba sent help to his country at the start of the pandemic.

During the outbreak of the pandemic, when Cuba was basically sealed off from the rest of the world and able to contain local contagion, the island send more than 1,000 healthcare workers to Mexico.

Cuba has for decades sent doctors and other healthcare professionals to countries across Latin America and around the world to help bolster their health systems and respond to natural disasters and more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. But despite generally strong relations between the two countries, Mexico has not in the past received Cuban doctors partly to avoid diplomatic frictions with its northern neighbor, the United States.

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