Coronavirus is exposing the lack of humanity at the heart of US foreign policy

Statue of liberty skull and US flag with cracks
Ed Sykes

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).

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But one prime example of Cuba stepping up is in the case of an infected British cruise ship:

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.

And coronavirus has hit Iran hard, with the death toll now approaching a thousand. With this in mind, many have called on Washington to drop its sanctions:

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.

Featured image via Flickr – Vaticanus / pixabay – Rovyco

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