Insulting and Degrading White House Offer to Cuba
Antiquated United States policy on Cuba, marked by 45 years of hostility, has reached a new level of absurdity with a ludicrous proposition recently coming from the US State Department.
The Bush administration offer to give Cuban families with homes damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Charley the equivalent of less than a dollar each is one of the most cynical and disrespectful gestures on record, fit for the Guinness Book if it included such ridiculousness.
After Charley hit Cuba on August 13, leaving more than 70,000 homes damaged or destroyed, the worlds wealthiest nation offered 50,000 dollars to mitigate the crisis if the Cuban government would allow US funded or created organizations to distribute the donation.
To try and capitalize politically in Florida on its supposed help to Cuba, the US State Department declared: The Cuban people can count on support from the United States in these difficult times. We are working to help the Cuban people with the humanitarian crisis that it is confronting today.
In response to the US, Cuba declared: We will not accept any supposed aid from the government of a country that is attacking us and attempting to bring us to our knees through hunger and need.
Meanwhile, as workers and volunteers from all over the island are busy helping the western provinces of Havana and Pinar del Rio restore, water, gas, electricity and phone service, repair homes and care for the displaced, there appears to be a serious case of selective amnesia at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Entire volumes have been published on how ten US administrations have helped the Cuban people over the last 45 years with an unrelenting embargo, seriously damaging the islands economy and keeping it from reaching its full potential.
Added to this economic siege is the well-documented biological warfare, sabotage, murdering of Cuban athletes, diplomats and ordinary citizens and the CIAs innumerable assassination attempts on President Fidel Castro. The net result of that hostile policy is over 3,478 Cubans killed and more than 120 billion dollars in damages.
Now, at the same time the Bush administration says it wants to help, it goes full speed ahead in the opposite direction by tightening the blockade with new measures that took effect on June 30. The presidents obsession with destroying the Cuban revolution and his veto power over congressional attempts to relax travel and some trade restrictions keep relations from warming, as most US citizens and Cubans would like.
In contrast to the burlesque offer of 50,000 dollars for hurricane victims, the latest Bush sanctions pump in an additional 77 million dollars to try and build an opposition on the island and punish Cuban-Americans wanting to maintain contact with their families.
The US government not only limits them to visiting Cuba once every three years but also reduces the sending of remittances to relatives. The measures further restrict other US citizens including scientists, artists, academics and students from exchanging with their Cuban counterparts.
Charley is not the first hurricane to hit Cuba and the country will no doubt recover from its onslaught without the spare change from the US. In fact, the recovery has already begun.
Just as the country’s proven civil defense network safeguards humans, animals and other key interests during emergencies, the Cuban government receives worldwide admiration for fulfilling its commitment to assure that no victim is left homeless or defenseless.