From May 2012 to April 2012 alone, the Cuban government said such damages added up to $39 million, mainly because of the need to purchase medicine, instruments and other medical supplies from more distant markets, rather than the United States.
The Cubans, who will take the U.N. podium on Monday, also complained of lack of access to cutting-edge technology produced only in the United States, as well as the difficulty for its medical personnel to receive training in some of the latest techniques.
This years meeting is particularly significant for the Caribbean Community, with Antiguan ambassador John William Ashe serving as president of the U.N. General Assembly.
On Wednesday, Ashe will convene his own special event about the Millennium Development Goals eight benchmarks, which include reducing poverty and stopping the spread of AIDS, that countries are supposed to meet by 2015. Ashe has said the goals are a heavy lift for less-developed nations.
I look forward to seeing how we can each play a part in fulfilling commitments already made, he said, changing old paradigms that no longer serve us, and building something that serves and honors all of us.
The leaders of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are expected to use their time on stage to talk about development goals after 2015.
Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe will make his first appearance at the opening, as President Michel Martelly opted to stay home to address his nations ongoing political crisis. Lamothes speech Thursday is also expected to address how Haiti is meeting the development goals.
Outside U.N. headquarters, human rights advocates will be calling on the organization to take responsibility for the deadly cholera outbreak in Haiti that has killed more than 8,000 since 2010. Last year, Haitis Institute for Justice and Democracy sued the U.N. seeking hundreds of millions in compensation on behalf of cholera victims. The U.N. rejected the request. Even so, there has been increasing evidence that U.N. peacekeepers were responsible for sparking the epidemic 10 months after Haiti´s 2010 earthquake.
As peace talks between Colombia and the FARC guerrillas enter their 11th month, questions are arising about just how lenient the government might be with guerrilla leaders in order to secure a deal. Earlier this month, the attorney general warned that the administration might fall afoul of the U.N.s International Criminal Court if it doesnt thoroughly punish the FARC leadership many of whom are wanted in the United States on murder, drugs and kidnapping charges.
President Juan Manuel Santos is expected to argue that Colombia needs flexibility to bring the countrys 48-year civil conflict to an end. Hell also be making his case to ICC officials.
Peace is the product of a negotiation where everyone has to give in, he said last week. To believe otherwise, to want to impose peace by force and unilaterally, is to resign ourselves to decades of more violence, pain and fratricide.
Miami Herald Staff Writer Jacqueline Charles in Miami and special correspondent Aaron Morrison at the United Nations contributed to this report