U.S. Policy Towards Cuba and Hurricane Relief

By Mauricio Claver-Carone
The recent passing of Hurricane Gustav over the western provinces of Cuba, and the current passing of Hurricane Ike over most of the island, requires the continued, unwavering focus of U.S. policy on the Cuban people and their tragic suffering.
U.S. policy has long prioritized humanitarian aid for the Cuban people, and for Cuba’s civil society. U.S.-based NGO’s, including the Red Cross, are licensed by the Treasury Department to travel, transport and provide unlimited amounts of humanitarian aid to the Cuban people. Unfortunately, the Cuban authorities have denied them the ability to enter the island, much less direct access to the Cuban people.
Despite the brutality and totalitarian control of Cuba’s dictatorship, the U.S. remains the largest provider of humanitarian aid to the Cuban people. As such, the focus of U.S. policy must remain on providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. This policy prioritizes the needs of the Cuban people, while taking into consideration transportation and infrastructure challenges, which requires the expertise of disaster relief specialists to deliver the massive amounts humanitarian assistance necessary.
It is important for Americans of all political persuasions to consolidate and insist that Cuban authorities allow NGO’s, with their disaster relief specialists, to travel to the island and assist the Cuban people in their moment of need. The Cuban authorities remain the sole impediment to the delivery of such humanitarian assistance.
Calls for moratoriums or suspensions of current U.S. policy towards Cuba are unnecessary distractions to these humanitarian assistance efforts and – by default – of a political persuasion, as moratoriums must be authorized by law, or conducted under the operation of law. Therefore, to advocate for a moratorium or suspension of current U.S. policy is, in effect, to advocate for the unconditional lifting of current policy, with long-term repercussions, as it previously requires legislative or regulatory changes in the law. Any changes in current U.S. law would simply provide the Cuban authorities a vetting mechanism for those traveling to the island, and facilitate their ability to condition and siphon funds from the U.S., as they have done with monetary assistance from other nations.

5 thoughts on “U.S. Policy Towards Cuba and Hurricane Relief”

  1. Ditto!
    Let the Red Cross in and allow them to help the Cuban people directly, and you will see how quickly we will all mobilize to help. But I fear that will never happen, as it would mean that the castro mafia would not be able to steal and plunder the help that arrives for their own benefit and the benefit of their “chosen” ones.

  2. Any aid of any kind that has to go through government hands will be used by said government as it sees fit and as suits ITS needs, NOT those of the people. That government has been screwing the people over for half a century, and it’s not going to change now. To those in power, any natural disaster is simply a way to extract additional resources from foreign sources. The people themselves are beside the point. They always have been.

  3. Where the hell are International groups and the UN? Why aren’t they pressuring Cuba to allow aid in as they did in Myanmar? Their irresponsibility is criminal.

  4. Ziva, Very good point! I was wondering the same thing, and why don’t some of the news reporters ask this question?

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