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Russia’s Statement on Cuban Foreign Assistance During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Maria Zajárova is the Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation since August, 2015. Photo courtesy of

In the context of humanity’s hard struggle against the coronavirus pandemic, I would like to draw attention to the manifestation of contrasting qualities by some members of the international community.

Last Wednesday, the Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba, Gerardo Peñalver Portal, held an online meeting with the media at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and discussed the measures taken by that country and the disinterested help provided by the Cubans to other states. I would like to recall that out of many Caribbean countries, including members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, only Cuba agreed to receive (40 km from the capital) the British cruise ship MS Braemar, from March 18 to 19, with five confirmed cases of COVID-19 on board, including 52 people with symptoms of the disease. As a result of this humanitarian operation, more than 1,000 passengers and crew members were sent to the United Kingdom.

Aware of all the risks to its own citizens, Havana responded to Italy’s call for help by sending 52 doctors to the Lombardy region. In addition, Cuban doctors are already saving lives in Venezuela, Granada, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, and Jamaica. Drugs that have been shown to be effective are being supplied, particularly in China, including Interferon Alpha 2-B produced in Cuba.

However, not all are distinguished by such noble qualities and perform similar worthy acts. Liberty Island offers a helping hand, showing impressive examples of humanism, but there are also those who are not comfortable with these efforts. Washington’s reaction was not long in coming. From there, no more and no less, warn about certain “dangers” of cooperation with Cuba in the fight against the coronavirus. I want to tell you that this is part of an information war. All these mysticisms and stories about the fact that there is some threat from Russia, some kind of aggressive Russian policy – they are just a myth. Now, with the example of the humanitarian aid that Russia has provided to Italy, the humanitarian aid that Cuba and China provide to various countries, we see that it is really an informative attack. Immediately, citing some unreliable sources in various media outlets, publications begin to appear that this help is ineffective, unnecessary, and unsolicited. What’s behind this? Politics. That, in fact, its objectives have not been achieved or completely different ones have been established.

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It seems to me that such events have a common characteristic, giving at the same time all the signs of propaganda – unreliable sources. When there is a position of principle, some kind of resistance and rejection of certain steps, particularly in the humanitarian direction, it makes sense to talk about them without mentioning their names. But, on the contrary, it would be worthy of respect to present a position, to clearly describe its approaches. But a large number of materials have appeared for various countries. Russia was no exception in that the humanitarian assistance it provided was allegedly ineffective, which seemed to me to have led to a reaction of pity, in particular, among the Italians. I saw all the statements made by the Italian Government, representatives of the regions, ordinary citizens who really reacted with apprehension to such landfills and manifestations of the information war.

Of course, I will not list all the accusations against Cuba by Washington due to the fact that Cuba provides humanitarian aid, because it is unworthy to express all this again. This is humiliating for the authors themselves. Clearly, someone was left with an unpleasant bitter gulp due to the gratitude expressed by the British Government for saving people. Although it is strange for the humanity of the 21st century. As if, by order of the capital, the Central American media unanimously decided to ignore the event and, even more, the help that Cubans provide to their neighbors.

Unfortunately, in any situation there are their own heroes and antiheroes. Today we see them. It seems that we are really living in a period that has been described in many feature films. These days I remember very often the phrase: “all come out of the shadows.”

Once again, we call for reflection and for the unity of all humanity in the face of the looming common threat. We call for reflection to those who, in this difficult world situation, try to work “in the negative”, and try to carry out a policy of aggression and destabilization.

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Article by María Zajárova, the Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation since August, 2015. This article was first published on the CubaDebate website. We are publishing it here because we feel it necessary in keeping with our mission to present the global perspective on Cuba.

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