Cuban Sports Affected by US Blockade
CUBA, October 26, 2009. The Anti-doping Lab in Havana has a hard time buying the necessary reagents and reference samples used in testing.
For almost five decades, Cuba has been fighting an uphill battle against the US blockade. The sports sector has not escaped the grasp of this monster that has been maintained by the Obama administration.
On October 28, Cuba will present a resolution against the US blockade of Cuba that will be voted on by the UN General Assembly.
A small part of the document that Cuba will present is a detailed analysis of the damages suffered in the sector of sports between May 2008 and April 2009.
Sports in Cuba is considered a right of the people and as such is heavily subsidized and promoted by the government. The US is one of the major producers of sports equipment, but Cuba cannot import any of their products and thus must import them at a much higher cost.
Other sectors that are acutely affected are Sports Medicine and the National Anti-doping Program. For example the Cuban Anti-doping Lab in Havana, approved by both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Anti-doping Association (WADA), has to spend more money to buy reagents and reference samples used in testing, and for equipment and parts. In the one year period that was analyzed, the program was negatively affected at a cost of US$ 781,000.
Other increased costs over that period are for example in importing baseballs. Instead of buying baseballs from the US, Cuba is forced to buy them from Japan. For one season of the National Baseball League the country paid an increase cost of US$ 90,000 for baseballs alone!
The numbers speak for themselves. And these are just specks of dust in the overall picture of damages caused by the US blockade against Cuba. (Cubavsblockade- Juventud Rebelde)
US Blockade Hinders Cuban Education
CUBA, October 26, 2009. From May 2008 to April 2009, the US economic blockade against Cuba has forced the island to buy educational materials from faraway markets, such as Asia, at an elevated cost of US$ 40 million.
If trade with the United States were possible, more than half of this money could have been used for additional purchases, said Jorge G. Corona, advisor of the Ministry of Education, during a press conference.
More than eight percent of the abovementioned figure went to freight and storage charges, Corona said.
Although Cuba has developed one of the best public education systems in Latin America, all education levels in the island have suffered the consequences of the suffocating policy imposed by consecutive US administrations.
As the economic and social progress of the island is increasingly hindered, possibilities of a greater assignment of resources, essential for the education sector, are reduced.
“These measures without ethic or moral justification have caused great damage to the Cuban education system which has not been greater thank to the political will of the government and the active participation of teachers and the public in general,” Corona said.
The search for alternatives to guarantee the satisfactory results that our country shows today has allowed to buy the resources needed in other markets.
According to Rosa Alvarez, national director of Planning and Statistics at the Ministry of Education, some of the daily shortages that have to be faced by the education sector in Cuba include restrictions in the acquisition of didactic toys for pre-school teaching, as well as supplies and raw materials to produce them in our country; limitations to replace, widen and modernize Physics, Chemistry and Biology labs; and limitations to buy school and bathroom furnishings, uniforms and other resources.
Some of the aspects that have had a negative impact in the education process in Cuba are the deficit of available means to teach foreign languages in the pedagogical universities; difficult access to updated bibliographies; and impediments to access special education supplies, Alvarez said.
In the scientific sector, the refusal to the exchange of experiences between US and Cuban professionals has been greater, as well as the restrictions to internet access.
Despite so many restrictions and five-decade-long blockade, Cuba has a paradigmatic education system and its education and solidarity methods have been essential for the training of professionals in the third world and for fighting against social ills such as illiteracy. (Cubavsblockade- Juventud Rebelde)