The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the utter absence of humanity at the heart of the US government’s foreign policy establishment. And people have noticed, highlighting two incredibly revealing issues.
1) Decades of US hostility can’t kill compassion
Many decades of US interference in Latin America have terrorised it with death and destruction. And Cuba has been a key target for US hostility, which has increased again under Donald Trump’s government. As The Canary has reported, Washington’s decades-long economic blockade of the island has faced consistent criticism from the UN and human rights groups for the immense suffering it has caused to the Cuban people.
Yet despite this economic chokehold, Cuba still manages to show compassion to others around the world in ways that its superpower neighbour doesn’t. For example, it has been sending both “doctors and supplies” to places hit hard by the new coronavirus (Covid-19).
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) March 16, 2020
Cuba allows the MS Braemar cruise ship to dock, with at least 5 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on board, after it was turned away by multiple nations including the United States. @teleSURenglish https://t.co/rZItevlRFq
— Camila (@camilateleSUR) March 16, 2020
Cuba has said it will allow the ship to dock here out of “humanitarian concerns” and the need for “a shared effort to confront and stop the pandemic.” Discussions are still ongoing but passengers say they hope to get off the ship as soon as possible. 2/2
— Patrick Oppmann CNN (@CNN_Oppmann) March 16, 2020
2) US sanctions on Iran continue despite major impact during coronavirus crisis
Trump’s government has also chosen to ramp up hostility towards Iran, using devastating sanctions to wage economic war on the country. Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs, who co-authored a report showing how US sanctions on Venezuela led to more than 40,000 deaths between 2017 and 2018, previously told The Canary that:
US policies vis-à-vis Iran and Venezuela are cruel and most likely constitute crimes against humanity. They are designed to create intense economic hardships, indeed hunger and deprivation, in order to destabilize the two regimes. … Civilian suffering, hunger and rising mortality rates are obvious consequences of US policies.
The Trump administration is increasing the deaths from coronavirus with economic sanctions against a number of countries, including Iran (below), & the no. of people killed by US sanctions will increase exponentially in coming months. Congress should put an end to this killing. https://t.co/GifOUXGSnm
— Mark Weisbrot (@MarkWeisbrot) March 16, 2020
As of today, at least 850 Iranians have died & almost 15,000 have been infected with #coronavirus.
— CODEPINK (@codepink) March 16, 2020
US is doing to #Iran what it did to North #Korea in 1994: using a natural disaster as leverage for the political goals of its sanctions. US let >3 million Koreans starve to win the Agreed Framework & it's now letting thousands of Iranians die preventable deaths for a new JCPOA. https://t.co/Mit7ZDB8jw
— Morgan 'Wash Those Hands' Artyukhina (@LavenderNRed) March 15, 2020
As The Canary has detailed previously, sanctions often harm civilians much more than government targets. And that seems to be the situation playing out in Iran today.
There currently appear to be no signs, however, that the US will drop sanctions on Iran to help it deal with its coronavirus crisis.
Where’s the humanity?
The US government often seeks to portray itself as a world leader, constantly pontificating about human rights. Why, then, is its embargo on Cuba still alive – despite Cuba contributing significantly to the fight against coronavirus? And why isn’t it lifting its sanctions on Iran, which is facing a severe public health crisis?
If the US is serious about human rights, now is the time to act.
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?