Zikalala calls for an end to embargo against Cuba as he welcomes medics

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has called for an "end of the embargo against Cuba", an aggressive push "for quality universal health care", and "the reform of the UN Security Council".

The premier made the comments on Thursday when welcoming Cuban health professionals in the province.

The deployed Cuban are among more than 200 medics from Cuba who have joined the fight against the spread of the coronavirus in South Africa.

Zikalala said that post-Covid-19 there should be a collective "fight for quality universal health care, for the reform of the UN Security Council, and for fair trade including the end of the embargo against Cuba".

The UN Security Council was on Tuesday criticised by leading non-governmental organisations for its "shameful" passivity towards the Covid-19 pandemic, AFP has reported.

It was reported that the organisations said the Security Council has failed to agree on a resolution supporting the initiative to bring about a ceasefire in conflict zones during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The rapid spread of the deadly coronavirus in the Island country of Cuba has given rise for calls for an end or easing of the long-drawn US embargo on the country.

On Thursday, Zikalala said "the affection" many in South Africa feel towards Cubans stems "from the deep trust" they have for the Island country.

"This trust, that was forged during the crucible of struggle and sustained over many decades. It is a trust that has refused to die despite endless imperial attempts to drive a wedge between Cuba and the people of Africa," Zikalala said.

He said many people in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and the continent "take immense pride in" Cuba's "revolutionary achievements" in the sectors of education, medicine and science.

"We share in Cuba's successes especially since this country has achieved extraordinary results despite decades of an illegal blockade that has sought to destroy the Cuban revolution," the premier said.

Zikalala also thanked the Cuban government and her people "for remembering their brothers and sisters in this part of the world again" during the fight against Covid-19.

"As you join our own health care workers and those from other parts of the world, we know that you all do this at a huge risk to your own lives.

"But we know that there is no price too huge to pay for Cuban internationalists when it comes to saving the lives of others and changing the human condition.

"We know that you are not only outstanding and skilled health professionals. But we also know that your work is truly revolutionary. It is about saving lives and giving hope to the despised and the marginalised. It is about creating a more equal and just society."

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu. Additional reporting, AFP)

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