22 September 2008

Just The Facts:

From Henrietta H. Fore, USAID Administrator, here’s a summary of the steps taken by the US agency responsible for distributing US Aid and response to natural disasters, USAID.

The rest of the noise really doesn’t matter much.

If the Cuban regime refuses these generous offers, and continues to make unreasonable demands, there is little that the US can do to help the Cuban people short of a liberating invasion……We cannot force Cuba to take our aid.


U.S. Offers New Direct Humanitarian Aid to Cuban Government; Humanitarian Organizations Set to Move U.S. Aid to Cuba

The U.S. Government has made a fourth offer of critical humanitarian assistance to the people of Cuba in the aftermath of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. In response to Cuba's humanitarian needs USAID is moving forward to provide up to $5 million in emergency relief to Cuban hurricane victims through international relief agencies and non-governmental organizations.

In summary, the U.S. government has officially offered assistance to Cuba on four separate occasions:

September 3, 2008:

The U.S. government issued a disaster declaration (on Hurricane Gustav) and provided $100,000 in cash relief assistance to humanitarian organizations on the ground.

The U.S. government also offered to provide a humanitarian assessment team to assist in producing rapid emergency assessments of health, sanitation, water, shelter and food.

September 12,2008:

The U.S. government provided an additional $100,000 (on Hurricane Ike) in cash assistance to relief organizations on the ground, and affirmed our intention to channel assistance through international organizations. The U.S. government reiterated its offer to provide a humanitarian assessment team.

September 13, 2008:

The U.S. government announced up to $5 million in a relief package that included an unconditional offer of humanitarian assistance to benefit 135,000 Cuban hurricane victims. Despite the Cuban Government's rejection of this offer, international relief agencies and non-governmental organizations will receive U.S. government funding for emergency relief assistance.

September 19, 2008:

The U.S. government offered to unconditionally provide additional relief supplies directly to Cuba relief services at a value of approximately $6.3 million. These supplies are composed of family emergency shelters and household kits which will assist up to 48,000 Cubans affected by the hurricanes.

The U.S. government will continue to monitor the situation in Cuba. For more information about USAID and its programs go to
www.usaid.gov. The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years.

Here are some of the Wall Street Journal’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady’s
thoughts on the subject:

The U.S. had $2 million in emergency supplies ready to go, pending a report from the usual assessment team about where help was needed. Not so fast, said Fidel. First, Havana refused to accept the aid because the assessment team is a "condition," and Havana can't accept help with strings attached. Washington offered to drop the assessment team and send the $2 million anyway. The regime still said "no." This time the problem was that Cuba can't take charity from a country with an embargo against it.

In a U.S. presidential election year, snowballs have a better chance in Havana than the nearly 50-year-old Cuban embargo has of being overturned in Washington. This week there was some good news, however, when the Bush administration announced that $1.65 million in
supplies will be distributed through nongovernmental organizations that work in Cuba. That Fidel will let that aid through is unquestionably a sign of Cuban desperation.

If the Cuban regime was serious about negotiating with the US about the relaxation of some of the sanctions currently imposed on the island, it would begin the process by accepting the aid and then talking.

Instead we get Fidel Castro himself warning in his blog that:

Any product that enters Cuba from the United States for a counterrevolutionary purpose must be returned or confiscated.

He does, however, prefer that you send cash:

Those who receive remittances from the United States can, upon paying the relevant tax, buy the regular rations at extremely low prices and also purchase goods in the hard-currency shops which sell products that are now significantly more expensive elsewhere in the world.

So there you have it, your marching orders, right from the horse’s mouth. Send him money. He needs the “relevant tax” and the profits.


Anonymous said...

"...liberating invasion."

Be still my heart,if only....

Val Prieto said...

Let's send money!