2008/09/26: Act Now to Help Cuba -- Devastated by Two 'Category 4' Hurricanes!

Act Now to Help Cuba -- Devastated by Two 'Category 4' Hurricanes!

Despite significant damage and a number of deaths and injuries in the US, our officials have openly expressed relief that we avoided being hit by the "storm of the century," as Hurricanes Gustav & Ike hit the U.S. with much less force than once feared.

Cuba was not so lucky. Within one week, it was hit by both Gustav and Ike, Category 4 hurricanes with winds of 200+ mph, accompanied by torrential rains and flooding. Both were much weakened by the time they left Cuba (Ike crisscrossed the island over 4 days, affecting all 14 provinces), after they destroyed half of Cuba's sugar crop, some 100,000 homes, and much of the infrastructure. Cuba reported only 7 deaths, not due to a miracle, but to extensive preparations and evacuation of millions of people.

The U.S. Conference of Bishops, anti-Castro Cuban-American organizations in Florida, and Barack Obama have all called for President Bush to suspend parts of the US embargo, so that relatives can send unrestricted remittances and can travel to Cuba. (You can read & sign a similar online petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Cubafloodaid/.)

Meanwhile Cuba has asked the Bush administration to allow it to buy construction materials and generators from the US (which is now illegal), and food from US suppliers subject to mutually agreeable private credit (which the US has also made illegal for Cuba only). But so far, the administration has ignored or rejected these requests, and instead offered a small amount of aid, conditioned on the U.S. sending on-site inspectors to Cuba, which no other nation has required.

For more information, see: www.lawg.org, www.wicuba.org and www.madisoncamaguey.org.


Sue Ruggles
AFT Local 212
414-297-6276 (office)
414-688-3772 (cell)