New Treasury Department regulations to tighten the blockade are intended to disrupt the daily lives of Cubans, including essential health care.
On his bed in the intensive care unit of Pepe Portilla Pediatric Hospital, where he has lived the last two years and seven months, King Dennys Santiesteban shows me his collection of toy dinosaurs.
He assures me that the fiercest is the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and that there are really big ones that they only eat grass.
At six, he tells me that he already knows how to read and write, thanks to the dedication of his grandmother and the doctors who care for him day and night, but admits that his greatest wish is to return home.
The disease he suffers requires him to remain attached to a mechanical ventilator, so without one at home, he stays here.
Dr. Liliana María Cueto explains that these are very expensive devices, only manufactured by capitalist corporations.
“If the equipment has any component from the United States, it isn’t sold to our country,” she says.
Liliana points out that, if there is one area which the U.S. blockade impacts every day, it is public health.
“We feel the lack of medications, such as first-generation antibiotics and equipment with some component of U.S. origin. The firms that produce them are afraid to sell to us, or if they do, they don’t supply us with spare parts.”
Nonetheless, Cuban doctors are committed to defending life and fighting disease. After more than half a century of resistance, it has almost become normal for a country in which most of its inhabitants were born under the effects of the blockade.
But nothing more cruel and anachronistic than this genocidal policy, supported by more than a dozen administrations in the White House. Continue reading