Friday, September 12, 2008

The Debate Continues

The other night I heard a host (Marta Flores) on Radio Mambi speak about her "confusion" over how best to help the people of Cuba. With many points of view now surfacing, it is certainly correct to describe it as confusing. But, many in Miami seem to agree that the US needs to make changes to its policy position to eventually send aid to Cuba.

Local Spanish-language news station Telemundo 51 recently asked viewers if limits on travel and remittances to Cuba should be temporarily lifted (photo above). Out of approximately 1000 online votes, 85% said YES. The poll is linked to two stories on the Telemundo 51 website, describing the devastating aftermath costs of hurricane Ike and how the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) is trying to help.

On Wednesday, CANF revealed that they had recieved an additional license by the US Treasury to help increase it's private efforts to send aid to Cuba. They call it their Hurricane Relief for Cuba Project. Click on the link to read the full report.

Coincidently (or not), that same day Unidad Cubana released their own official statement on sending aid to Cuba. If you don't know, Unidad Cubana represents the militant and intransigent sector of the Cuban exile community (some members include supporters of Commandos F4).

Radio Mambi's programming director, Armando Perez Roura, who is also Chairman of Unidad Cubana, took the priviledge of his daily radio commentary (called "Tome Nota") to repeat the official statement of Unidad Cubana (Perez Roura's daily radio commentary is repeated THREE TIMES daily).

According to Unidad Cubana:

"During the natural disasters occcuring since 1959, all aid sent to the Cuban people has been intercepted by the Communist tyranny, placed in control of the those who exploit the country, directed to supply the requirements of the tourist industry, or sold at high prices at the so-called 'diplotiendas' [luxury stores in Cuba that use US dollars], which the Cuban worker has no access to.

"Undiad Cubana urges the exile community to not let it be confused by those who call for the suspension of measures destined to promote and accelerate the political, economic, and social change in Cuba.


"Our country confronts extreme situations of hunger and disease in the following days. And the only obstacle to its salvation is [the Cuban regime]... and that the Cuban regime be overthrown without contemplation."

[Full audio here.]

Henry Gomez of the Babalu Blog seems to share this same position, indicated by his recent posting of an Alfredo Pong cartoon showing a starving and chained Cuban man being told by Raul Castro to beg louder as the President awaits to collect all the aid for himself.

But, the debate continues in Miami. The Democracy Movement recently demonstrated against the limits of sending aid to Cuba by the Cuban government and the US. You can watch the video here, and see the various people involved.

Those who want to know the reasons why the Cuban government rejected US aid relief can check out the Cuban Colada blog where the points have been posted.