Thursday, September 4, 2008

Time to Help

Wow. You're gone ONE week and you miss so much news from Cuba. I tell ya...

Anyway, the top story is without a doubt the aftermath of hurricane Gustav in Cuba. The destruction left by Gustav's winds has left many Cubans in a dire situation, and this tragedy has immediately brought scrutiny on US sanctions towards Cuba, namely because of restrictions on travel and remittances by Cuban families in exile.

Boy, if my family living overseas had become victim to a terrible natural disaster, I would be infuriated if my attempts to join them or help them directly would be restricted by my government. How tragic that this might be the case for some with family in Cuba.

Here in Miami, prominent leaders of the Cuban exile community have raised their voices calling for a moratorium on travel and remittance restrictions to Cuba. Some who are adamant in keeping restrictions in place have raised their voices too. And, thus, we have a debate. [Watch Ramon Saul Sanchez on Spanish-language television this week proposing a moratorium on restrictions (beginning at 8:30 mark).]

I'll keep this post short, and hopefully tomorrow I will post more. But, I want to spread the word for those in the US who want to help the people in Cuba, namely those who have become the victims of Gustav's destruction. Below is information on how you can send donations to humanitarian organizations working in Cuba. The information is copied from the Cuban Triangle blog, whose author, Phil Peters of the Lexington Institute, has excellent coverage of the aftermath.

Help if you can.

How to help: U.S. government regulations severely limit what Americans can do directly, but we can work through two fine charities, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Caritas Cubana. CRS, the international aid arm of the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops, has long supported the work of Caritas, Cuba’s nationwide Catholic charity, in a variety of humanitarian tasks including disaster relief. Caritas has requested assistance to help Gustav’s victims, and CRS is receiving donations for this purpose. If you want to help CRS respond to Caritas’ appeal, you can make a donation to CRS and designate it for “Cuba hurricane relief,” the code is 2770-1284 – you can do it on-line at the CRS donation page, or by mail (Catholic Relief Services, PO Box 17090, Baltimore MD 21203-7090), or by calling 1-888-277-7575.