[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Cuba Restrictions and Hurricane Aid

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Cuba Restrictions and Hurricane Aid

In the wake of Hurricane Dennis, Cuban-Americans are debating whether travel, trade, and monetary restrictions should be temporarily lifted in order to help Cubans affected by the storm.

As with everything else Cuba-related seems to be...it's a tough situation.

I don't doubt the sincerity of exile groups who advocate a temporary lifting; groups such as Democracy Movement, Puentes Cubanos, and Consenso Cubano. They want to help out, as do the rest of us who have family or connections in Cuba. They say that politics shouldn't get in the way of reaching out to help the people of Cuba. Of course, they are right.

Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that politics ARE in the way. Some, quite predictably, want to place the blame for this on the pro-embargo folks. But consider this: it was announced yesterday that the Cuban government has rejected the aid offered by the U.S., and also plans to reject any aid offered by the European Union (hat tip - Paxety Pages).

That's right. The big, bad U.S. offered aid, and it was turned down.

Another thing to consider is where the donations end up once they arrive in Cuba. More than likely, the government gets ahold of them and either re-sell them to the public, or end up in stores in other countries.

At the heart of this argument is the simple logic that the Cuban government should be responsible for providing for its own people, especially in times of crisis. Instead, they can't even build homes for the homeless.

That's why the restrictions are in place: to prevent the castro regime from cashing in on our generosity and repress his people even more. That's also why I don't feel the restrictions should be lifted, even temporarily, as much as it hurts me to realize the dire need that Cubans are in.

Fortunately, there are ways we can help without having to go through fidel. The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), you know, those evil right-wing pro-embargo bastions I mentioned earlier, have set up a fund to provide aid to Cuba via opposition and church leaders. It is called the Cuba Relief Fund. For more information, please visit the site via the link provided.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would be against aid if the castro government could get its fingers on any of it. If not, I am for it. Difficult issue. The main obstacle, as always, is castro.

No castro, no problem.

-Mora

7:19 PM, July 12, 2005  
Blogger Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

What I'm going to say I know is easy for me to say since I don't have close relatives in cuba. Now is not the time to soften the stance on the embargo. It's time to "sack up" and be strong. Desperation among the Cuban people in the face of uncaring and incompetent Cuban government is our ally. Only when Cuba is in the pits of despair will people actually risk their necks to take the situation into their own hands.

12:25 PM, July 13, 2005  
Blogger Robert said...

I don't have any close relatives in Cuba either, it doesn't make it easier to deal with however.

I agree that we can't soften up now, instead channel our efforts to help those directly in need,

3:40 PM, July 13, 2005  
Anonymous Ray said...

Amigo:

Well said. The sad truth is that Cuba's woes have nothing to do with our embargo, and everything to do with an archaic, corrupt and flat out sick form of government. For years the Castro government has traded with many other western nations, all of whom are capable of sending all but the most esoteric of items to Cuba. Simply because we choose not to do business with the Castro government has little to do with the misery of our people.

Keep up the good work on your very civilized blog.

Tu amigo,
Ray

8:22 PM, July 18, 2005  
Blogger Robert said...

Ray,

Thanks for reading and for your kind words.

1:14 PM, July 19, 2005  

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