[News] Cuba's Statement regarding US Offer of Aid

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Sep 8 10:40:43 EDT 2008

It should be emphasized, too, that the U.S. 
government offered a tinybit of aid ($100,000 and 
more later maybe) ONLY if it was distributedNOT 
by the Cuban government, the only effective means of distributionthat exists.


On 3rd September last, at 4:45 P.M., the 
Assistant Secretary of State for Western 
Hemisphere Affairs, Thomas Shannon, delivered to 
the Head of the Interest Section of Cuba in 
Washington, Note Nº 646, which states ?its 
deepest regret for the destruction caused by 
hurricane Gustav? and affirms that the United 
States would be prepared to ?offer immediate and 
initial humanitarian assistance of relief 
supplies to the Cuban people through an 
appropriate international relief organization?.

An identical Note was later sent to the Ministry 
of Foreign Affairs by the United States Interests Section in Havana.

In said Note, the U.S. Government also requests 
the Cuban Government to ?allow a United States 
humanitarian assessment team to visit Cuba to 
inspect the affected areas to properly assess damage?.

On Saturday 6 September, at 8:55 A.M., the 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs delivered to the 
State Department, through the Interests Section 
of Cuba in Washington, and simultaneously to the 
United States Interests Section in Havana, its 
Note Nº 1866 conveying its appreciation for the 
expressions of regret by the Government of the 
United States due to the destruction caused in our country by hurricane Gustav.

The Note also states that Cuba does not require 
the assistance of a humanitarian assessment team 
to assess the damage and needs, as it has a 
sufficient number of specialists, which practically have concluded that task.

The Note of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also 
expresses that if the Government of the United 
States is really willing to cooperate with the 
Cuban people in face of the tragedy of the 
hurricane, it is requested to allow the sale to 
Cuba of those materials considered indispensable 
and to suspend the restrictions that prevent U.S. 
companies from offering private commercial 
credits to our country for the purchase of food in the United States.

A widespread public debate has emerged during the 
last few hours in the United States regarding the 
position that should be adopted by the U.S. 
Government due to the severe damage caused by hurricane Gustav in Cuba.

During the afternoon of 4 September, the 
Democratic Presidential Candidate, Barack Obama, 
requested the suspension, for no less than 90 
days, of restrictions to travel, remittances and 
assistance by Cuban residents in the United States to their families in Cuba.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers that 
the restrictions on travel and the sending of 
remittances by persons of Cuban origin residing 
in the United States should have never been 
applied. It is not Cuba but the United States 
which deprives persons of Cuban origin from the exercise of this right.

If these rights were to be returned to the Cubans 
for  humanitarian reasons, there would be no way 
to explain that said prohibition, equally unjust 
and discriminatory, would be retained for U.S. citizens.

Now, when the Eastern part of the country is 
already in hurricane watch as a result of the 
threat posed by hurricane Ike, as powerful as 
Gustav, Cuba reaffirms that, in all truth, the 
only correct and ethical action, in 
correspondence with International Law and the 
practically unanimous will of the U.N. General 
Assembly, would be to eliminate totally and 
permanently the ruthless and cruel economic, 
commercial and financial blockade imposed against 
our Motherland for almost half a century. It 
includes the persecution of Cuban commercial and 
financial operations in third countries and 
which, according to conservative calculations, 
causes yearly damages higher than those caused by hurricane Gustav.

                 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba
                                 September 6 2008

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