Cuban Embargo Aff – Page 3 of 4
These shortages contribute to massive loss of life in Cuba – we have a moral obligation to lift the embargo.
Eisenberg, former Professor Emeritus of Social Medicine and Psychology at the Harvard Medical School, 1997
(Leon, “The sleep of reason produces monsters – human costs of economic sanctions,” The New England Journal of Medicine, 336:17, pgs. 1248-1250, ProQuest)
Thus, three unusual outbreaks of medical conditions — neuropathy, self-inflicted disease, and injuries caused by rioting — stemmed from U.S. economic sanctions. The sanctions may be aimed at Fidel Castro, but the victims are the ordinary citizens of Cuba. Castro looks as well fed as ever. Economic sanctions afflict civilians, not soldiers and not the leaders of autocratic societies. Yet the United States continues to employ such sanctions against dictators (or at least those dictators it suits present policy to condemn). When the sanctions are applied, they are all-encompassing. The interdicted trade with Cuba includes visits by medical delegations and the mailing of medical journals such as this one. Whom do medical journals empower, dictators or doctors? Can freedom be defended by suppressing information any more than by interrupting food supplies or drugs?¶ Iraq is an even more disastrous example of war against the public health. Two months after the end of the six-week war, which began on January 16, 1991, a study team from the Harvard School of Public Health visited Iraq to examine the medical consequences of sanctions imposed after the armed conflict. The destruction of the country’s power plants had brought its entire system of water purification and distribution to a halt, leading to epidemics of cholera, typhoid fever, and gastroenteritis, particularly among children. Mortality rates doubled or tripled among children admitted to hospitals in Baghdad and Basra. Cases of marasmus appeared for the first time in decades. The team observed “suffering of tragic proportions. . . . [with children] dying of preventable diseases and starvation.”5 Although the allied bombing had caused few civilian casualties, the destruction of the infrastructure resulted in devastating long-term effects on health.¶ An international group supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) carried out a more comprehensive study five months later by interviewing members of households selected to represent the Iraqi population.6 The age-adjusted relative mortality rate among children in the eight months after the war, as compared with the five years before the war, was 3.2. There were approximately 47,000 excess deaths among children under five years of age during the first eight months of 1991. The deaths resulted from infectious diseases, the decreased quality and availability of food and water, and an enfeebled medical care system hampered by the lack of drugs and supplies.¶ The Cuban and Iraqi instances make it abundantly clear that economic sanctions are, at their core, a war against public health. Our professional ethic demands the defense of public health. Thus, as physicians, we have a moral imperative to call for the end of sanctions. Having found the cause, we must act to remove it. Continuing to allow our reason to sleep will produce more monsters.