Havana, Cuba.- Like all sectors in Cuban society, higher education does not escape the obstacles related to the economic, commercial and financial blockade that Washington has imposed on Cuba for nearly 60 years, and it has caused damage worth 933.678 billion dollars, according to a preliminary report published by the Foreign Ministry.
Higher Education Minister Jose Ramon Saborido told Prensa Latina that the US policy has a negative impact on guaranteeing supplies, equipment and inputs to the system's institutions (22 universities and three research centers) to ensure their teaching activities.
Due to the blockade, remodeling works are much more expensive and academic mobility and exchange with institution from other countries is affected as well, which are indispensable at that educational level, the official noted.
The US blockade limits access to first-level bibliography and databases, the minister added.
'No higher education system in the world today can be isolated; it needs interaction, because knowledge goes beyond the country and its institutions,' he assured.
Among the damage caused by Washington's measure are limitations to get scientific information and lack of or insufficient means and resources for teaching and research, due to higher costs in other markets, said the report, published by the Cuban Foreign Ministry and to be submitted soon to the United Nations General Assembly.
The blockade was further tightened in 2017, after US President Donald Trump took office and signed a memorandum to step up that policy, which has been described as an act of genocide, according to the UN Convention on the Prevention and Sanction of the Crime of Genocide of 1948.
The Cuban government reported that from April 2017 to March 2018, the higher education system had been affected by a reduction in academic exchange among Cuban universities and US institutions, including those in Puerto Rico.
As a result, the Philosophy and History Faculty of the University of Havana received nearly 12 requests by US or Puerto Rican students to enroll in postgraduate courses in Cuba, but they could not fulfill their studies due to the blockade.