Cuba blocks Swedish alcohol demands
Published: 24th May 2007 08:51 CET
Swedish attempts to get the international community to adopt a tough
strategy to curb alcohol abuse have been blocked by Cuba at the World
Health Organization in Geneva.
The Swedes wanted the WHO to develop a global action plan to reduce
alcohol abuse. The proposal would have required unanimity at the meeting
in Geneva on Wednesday.
"We tried to compromise with the countries that protested. We made
changes and removed certain phrases. But Cuba wouldn't move an inch.
They always came up with new objections," said Karin Nilsson-Kelly, an
official at the Swedish Social Department, to Svenska Dagbladet.
Cuba and other Caribbean countries are concerned that further
restrictions on alcohol will hit production of rum, which is Cuba's
fifth most important source of income.
Oscar Léon González, an official at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, told
Svenska Dagbladet that the Swedish proposal would lead to just another
piece of United Nations paper to which nobody would pay any attention.
He added that the alcohol problem was mainly a problem for developed
countries. Poorer countries had bigger health issues to think about, he
"Many people can't understand why Sweden is pushing the alcohol question
so hard when people are dying of Aids, tuberculosis and malaria in their
countries," he said.
TT/The Local (firstname.lastname@example.org/08 656 6518)