MEDICC Deplores President Trump’s Rollback on US Opening to Cuba: Unhealthy, Unreasonable, Unwise

There are no winners in a return to antiquated policies, but yes, the real possibility is that health—our own and globally—becomes just part of the ‘collateral damage’.

The Trump administration’s about-face on Cuba policy threatens the benefits of bilateral health cooperation for Americans, Cubans and people around the world. The June 16th Presidential Memorandum makes passing reference to “ensure engagement” to protect “public health and safety of the United States”. However, the directive’s harsh restrictions on travel, trade and investment risk freezing joint research on disease and bilateral accords to mitigate natural disasters, protect shared ecosystems, counter drug-trafficking and halt new epidemics.

While specifics are yet unclear, the stakes are high. MEDICC Board Vice Chair Arnold Perkins commented: “This policy turnaround is as unwise as it is unhealthy, especially since Cuba has promising treatments for lung and other cancers, and for reducing by 70% risk of amputation for diabetic-foot-ulcer patients, among others. Ordinary Americans and Cubans stand to lose if US companies and universities cannot fully partner with Cuba’s research centers on these and other innovations.”

MEDICC Executive Director Dr. C. William Keck called the policy also unreasonable, contradicting overwhelming support for better relations with Cuba found among Americans (including Republicans), Cuban-Americans and Cubans on the island. “This administration is turning its back on us, and also on lessons from a country whose free health care has produced outcomes similar and sometimes better than our own, with fewer disparities, despite economic hardships due in part to the US embargo,” he said. In this regard, Dr. Keck referred to MEDICC’s…

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