Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro

Global news has it that Cuba has developed her own Covid-19 vaccine with an efficacy of 92%.

For any internationalist this is surely good news and one cannot but wish the Cuban people all the best in this great feat. Which, ultimately, knowing the international solidarity that Cuba has been renowned for years in not only believing and espousing it, but practically manifesting it, she is bound to benefit not only the Cuban people, but at one point or another she is bound to practically extend her achievements on the medicinal sphere, relating to the Pandemic on this instance, to the human race globally.

This is as long as the Pandemic remains with us, and with us it shall remain until the entire world has been vaccinated. But reaching a point of where the entire human race is vaccinated, is and cannot be an immediate achievement. Especially for the people of the South, who are and have been all along at the tail end of the scramble for every imaginable resource, even of the this life-saving vaccine.

With the North first in not only receiving it, but in being able to afford it given the exorbitant prices, out of reach of most countries in the South. Countries on the African continent given the existing Capitalist world order, only hoping against hope of getting the vaccine in good time to in good time achieve herd immunity.

Despite the much heralded New Economic Order of the 1970s, more than anything the Pandemic has revealed it as no more than a facade. As the world essentially remains a highly unequal place, still divided between the exploitative affluent North, and the exploited impoverished South.

Seeing and regarding countries in the North and South as equal sovereign partners has been a deliberate ploy by the North to lure the South into a false sense of equal partnership while unscrupulous continuing the extraction of the natural resources of the South, siphoning off of the profits and their repatriation to Northern metropoles.

Meantime the Southern metropoles and their dwellers, because they have been no more than mere dwellers enjoying little or secondary benefit from their own natural resources.

This Capitalist inspired order of things has been prevalent in all human endeavours, whether social, economic, technological, and even lately in the medicinal sphere as currently unfolding with regard to the development of the Covid-19 vaccine. Where and when pharmaceuticals from the North have been leading the pioneering in developing vaccines, accessed first to leafy and affluent countries in the North.

With even some Northern Hemisphere countries and nations being more equal than others in typical fashion of George Orwell’s Animal Farm novel, where some animals are more equal than others.

Being that the case as it is and may be, how can countries from the North then be equal to those from the South? Simply they were not yesterday, today and cannot be tomorrow, unless there’s a real transformation in the world order. It is this transformation that Cuba, since its birth, has been making groundbreaking strides. The vaccine development is only the latest. Thus one cannot but hail the Republic of Cuba and her people in this regard as one, if not thé last bastion of Socialism.

Cuba’s initiative for self-development in terms of the Covid-19 vaccine has been at the backdrop of difficult circumstances. The pandemic has hit her hard with her economy shrinking by 11% in 2020. Parallel with the loss of tourism, an important source of foreign currency for the island, and other structural issues, including the strengthening of some US sanctions. The country and her people have literally been going through a severe economic crisis, which has led to food shortages, partly the making of the Capitalist world, led by the US, that she has been engineering, at times through sheer gunboat diplomacy, agitating for the total collapse of the Republic of Cuba.

Her only sin her ideologically firmness as a socialist country. But the country and people have soldiered on, their ever steadfastness and resoluteness today manifested in her self-development of the Covid-19 vaccine, titled Soberena, Spanish for sovereign. Indeed sovereignty, not only for herself, but for the world, is what Cuba all these years has stood for since the Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro through his 26th July Movement, and its allies against the military dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. A revolution that through Cuban internationalism has rubbed onto the liberation struggles of such African countries like Namibia. Internationalism, Cuba has proven many a times, even with the current pandemic, to have much of in her DNA.

That is why now when many countries of the South are at the sharper end of the pandemic, manifested in short supply of the Covid-19 vaccine, and what in Namibia is now transpiring into two digits deaths daily, Cuba being longtime friend, in need and indeed, Namibia and many other Southern Hemisphere countries, cannot but applaud Cuba’s groundbreaking endeavours. Typical of Cuban solidarity, humanitarian and ideological, understandably, countries like Venezuela has already benefited from the Cuban vaccine in this regard.