News: News Archives
Citing "Human Obligation," AAAS CEO Urges
Collaboration Between U.S. and Cuban Scientists
The American scientific community has a "human obligation" to "explore ways that science can improve the lives of people everywhere"including Cuba, AAAS CEO Alan I. Leshner told U.S. policymakers.
"The entire world is facing increasingly complex and often devastating problems of poverty, environmental degradation and human disease," Leshner added, in testimony regarding the proposed Bridges to the Cuban People Act of 2001, designed to increase humanitarian aid to Cuba, mostly through the transfer of food and medicines. "Science and technology have a long and fruitful track record in helping to solve many of the most complex problems of humanity."
Leshner noted that the "universal language of science" often helps bridge the political chasms that divide nations. International scientific cooperation may support broader diplomatic discussions in many casesas during the "cold war" with the Soviet Union, and during difficult times in our relations with Chile, he said.
U.S. and Cuban collaboration, in particular, has resulted in the discovery of new species, an increased awareness about the importance of Caribbean biodiversity, and joint publication and dissemination of other ecological and biological information, according to Leshner.
In summary, Leshner said, "There is no credible reason to limit international collaboration in non-classified research." His statement expanded upon a previous AAAS Board of Directors resolution, emphasizing the need for unfettered information exchangeespecially freedom of movement across countries, and the right to travel.
Leshner and others were called to testify before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, and Narcotics Affairs. The hearing was planned for 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time Wednesday, June 19, 2002, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 419.
The Bridges to the Cuban People Act of 2001 (S. 1017)sponsored by Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT), and introduced by Dodd, with Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee (R-RI), Congressman James A. Leach (R-IA), Congressman José E. Serrano (D-NY), and otherswould make it possible for U.S. farmers and businesses to sell food, medicine, and agricultural equipment to Cuba without annual licenses. Specifically, the purpose of the Act is to "provide Cuban people with access to food and medicines from the United States, to ease restrictions on travel to Cuba, to provide scholarships for certain Cuban nationals."
19 June 2002