03 January 2007

Latest Chapter in Delahunt/Flake Drama

More on the Delahunt/Flake congressional visit to Cuba and its fall out:

In our last episode , Cuban dissidents Elizardo Sánchez , Marta Beatriz Roque, Vladimiro Roca, and Gisela Delgado asked the Congressmen “to do everything in your reach to urgently normalize the humanitarian assistance in the form of medicines, foodstuffs, and other materials needed for sustenance and to recognize the positive role of the programs that allowed the said aid to reach us.”

A reader was kind enough to forward the Congressmen’s response to the Cuban dissidents:

Martha Beatriz Roque
Assembly to Promote Civil

Gisela Delgado Sablon
Independent Libraries

Elizardo Sanchez Santa Cruz
Cuban Commission for Human
Rights and National Reconciliation

Vladimiro Roca
Democratic Party and spokesman of “Todos Unidos”


Dear Friends,

Thank you for your letter of December 16, which we received from the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.

We also saw the statement that you issued on November 23, in which you call for an end to the restrictions that the United States imposes on travel and the sending of aid to Cuba. We agree that the elimination of those restrictions would provide humanitarian and many other benefits to the peoples of both our countries. We also want you to know that in talks with Cuban officials in Havana, we once again urged the elimination of travel restrictions that the Cuban government imposes on its own citizensWe would like to address your questions about the GAO report on the Cuba programs of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

We have sought information about the USAID program.

We began by asking direct, routine questions of AID officials. After that agency declined to answer questions, we asked GAO, an auditing agency, to do a report.

The report found that there are serious management problems in the program.

Some of USAID’s management failures have led to excesses that have subjected the program to public ridicule. We expect that the program’s management will be improved.

Your letter is the first information we have received regarding an interruption of aid under this program. The U.S. Interests Section did not mention this in our conversations. We do not doubt the information you are providing us, but we would be surprised if the Administration were to have reacted to the GAO report by suspending humanitarian aid. No one in Congress has asked for aid to be suspended, and we know of no one in the Administration who supports such a step.

Nonetheless, as we noted above, it is often difficult to obtain information about this program. We will seek answers to your questions and we will ask that the Administration answer you directly.

We and our colleagues very much appreciate your letter and your views on these issues. We have long believed that te U.S. travel restrictions and other aspects of the embargo block contacts that we should be encouraging between our two countries – exchanges of information and ideas, family visits, student and people-to-people exchanges, humanitarian aid of all types. We believe that, especially now, the relations between the Cuban and American peoples should be far broader than merely those envisioned in U.S. government programs. As we continue our work we hope we will always be able to count on your candid opinions.


Bill Delahunt
Jeff Flake

Unfortunately, from their response , I don’t get a sense of urgency or responsibility for the plight of the dissidents on the part of congressmen Delahunt or Flake even though the dissident’s current plight is a direct consequence of their actions. I can’t believe how optimistic they are about “broadening” relations between the Cuban and American people, after the snub they just received in Havana. . It should have become clear to them during their visit that the Cuban regime isn’t interested in broadening anything but our graves; to bury us, like Nikita vowed.

Both the administration and its critics need to realize that their political scrimmages have an impact on these brave and vulnerable dissidents being held hostage in Cuba by brutal and unscrupulous thugs who don’t like people expressing their “candid opinions”.

We can safely sit here in the land of the free and home the brave and point fingers, but when we do, we need to be careful innocents don't get poked.

Enough ranting. (there goes Another New Year's Resolution down the tubes)

For those who want to refresh their memories or are not familiar with the Delahunt/Flake Telenovela, you can click here to get a quick synopsis previous episodes. (previous post)

Thanks to our reader for remembering and looking out for the Cuban Dissidents.

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