i don't like fun

help cubans who have lost everything.
21 September, 2008, 1:34 am
Filed under: cuba, current events, i'm serious

i got an email the other day from a few people i met in cuba, and the amount of devastation left by hurricanes gustav and ike is unfathomable.
the media here is understandably focused on texas and the hurricanes’ damage to the southern part of our country, but there is an omittance of news about this cuban tragedy that borders on complete denial.
this article is just one description. the central and eastern parts of the island were hit so hard that hundreds of thousands of people, if not more, don’t have homes or even towns to return to. 

the only aid we can give cuba now is through private organizations. it’s a long story, but it suffices to say that the cuban government (NOT its population) rejected a U.S. offer of relief aid, asking instead to have the trade embargo temporarily suspended so the country can buy the goods it needs to rebuild. they otherwise have to pay up-front cash to third parties in other countries and get goods shipped, which takes longer… apparently they can’t just run up tons of national debt like our country can.
we, of course, rejected this request, but conceded that some aid would be given to newly licensed private organizations to, in turn, be donated to cuba. as far as i am aware of, though, the individual money transfer rules have not changed (if it’s coming from america, only $100 per month, and it has to go to your immediate family). only the organizations can send money transfers regardless of this criteria. hence, i can’t directly help the people i know by wiring them money, which is heartbreaking.
this LA times piece is really informative and gives some insight at the end as to the U.S.-cuba relationship. did you know that the united states rejected an offer that involved 1,500 cuban doctors (some of the best trained in the world) going to new orleans and caring for katrina victims in the hurricane’s aftermath? it’s not only cuba that gets hurt by our governments’ squabbling.

i found a few private orgs that are government-certified nonprofits, and they are very up-front about the minor running costs of their organizations. if you can and will, here they are. anything is appreciated, obviously, and i’m sure you could find others on the internet if these don’t suit you.
global links is small, focused, and dedicated. looks like an amazing project, so read it.
operation USA gets donations from doctors, medical suppliers, and pharmaceutical companies and then collects public donations to ship them all to cuba.
the cuban american national foundation has exhausted its license by already sending $250,000 in donations, but will hopefully soon be running under another license for the same amount. they can send money to specific affected families if you care to specify.

this article highlights a few ‘more relevant’ facts:
1. “state television said officials had taken measures to protect thousands of tourists at vulnerable seaside hotels, including about 10,000 foreigners at the varadero resort, east of havana.”
hmm. while cuban citizens are evacuated and lose their homes.
misdirection of resources by raúl and his team, perhaps…
2. “a few street signs were toppled at the U.S. naval base at guantánamo bay in southeast cuba… but no injuries were reported, and the military said cells containing detainees – about 255 men suspected of links to the taliban and al-qaida – are hurricane-proof.”
hurricane proof cells at guantánamo. because we care.
…about cubans’ welfare. wow.