100 signatures reached
To: Samantha Power, Director of USAID
Help Cuba Recover from Hurricane Ian and the Matanzas Fire
We applaud our government's provision of $2,000,000 of critical humanitarian aid to Cubans whose communities were devastated by Hurricane Ian. We urge equal generosity to the aftermath of deadly oil fires in Matanzas, Cuba, and to rehabilitation of the national electrical system.
In the same spirit, the Biden Administration should also suspend all sanctions or regulations that inhibit private and governmental aid. Allowing Western Union to resume transfer of remittances to family and friends will provide roughly five million dollars a day in people to people assistance. Secretary Blinken should also remove without further delay impediments created by Cuba's unmerited listing as a State Sponsor of Terrorism by the Trump Administration.
We share your warmly received words as Ambassador to the United Nations in 2016, "the United States and Cuba must continue to find ways to engage, even as our differences persist ".
Why is this important?
When deadly fires raged in Cuba's primary oil storage tanks in Matanzas August 5-12, US agencies failed to provide or fund immediate material help and personnel to extinguish them, despite our special competence and respected history of international disaster assistance.
Prompt action could have saved lives and prevented the fire from destroying two additional storage tanks. The US can now take the generous and humane step of providing assistance to address the fire's aftermath, including further deterioration in Cuba's electrical generation and distribution system as discussed with the Environmental Protection Agency.
Hurricane Ian devastated western Cuba before striking Puerto Rico and Florida., destroying homes, businesses and vital crops.
USAID's website reports, "The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) is responsible for leading and coordinating the U.S. government’s response to disasters overseas. OFDA responds to an average of 65 disasters in more than 50 countries every year."
Director Samantha Power is well positioned to lead such an effort as shown by her groundbreaking speech to the UN General Assembly, full text here https://tinyurl.com/PowerUN
* "U.S. will provide $2 million of hurricane aid in Cuba" by Karen De Young, Washington Post, October 18, 2022 https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/10/18/biden-cuba-hurricane-ian/
* "Disaster diplomacy: Why Biden should rush to help Cuba after Hurricane Ian" by Professor William LeoGrande, Responsible Statecraft https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2022/09/30/disaster-diplomacy-why-biden-should-rush-to-help-cuba-after-hurricane-ian/
* Letter from Representatives Lee, McGovern and Meeks calling for US humanitarian aid to Cuban victims of Hurricane Ian https://lee.house.gov/news/press-releases/chairs-lee-meeks-and-mcgovern-issue-statement-regarding-humanitarian-assistance-to-cuba-following-hurricane-ian
* Letter from FFRD to USAID https://cubapeopletopeople.blogspot.com/2022/08/letter-to-usaid.html
* "Cuba’s enormous blaze fuels fears of instability even as flames are doused" by Ed Augustin https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/aug/10/cuba-fire-government-power-cuts
* "Did U.S.-Cuba dysfunction prevent a quicker end to the Matanzas oil fire disaster?" by Tim Padgett https://www.wlrn.org/news/2022-08-19/did-u-s-cuba-dysfunction-prevent-a-quicker-end-to-the-matanzas-oil-fire-disaster
* "We appreciate humanitarian assistance offer made by the US. This material contribution that is worth 2 million USD, channeled through the International Federation of Red Cross, will add up to our recovery efforts in support of the victims of the ravages caused by #HurricaneIan" Tweet by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.
How it will be delivered
By e mail with the list of signers as posted on the blog of "Cuba US People to People Partnership"