National Network On Cuba: Statement to President Obama on Hurricane Relief, Embargo, and UN Vote

The following letter to the Obama administration was issued by the National Network On Cuba on Nov. 13 following the United Nations General Assembly’s 21st vote to end the U.S. embargo of Cuba.

Dear President Obama:

Today, for the 21st consecutive year, the international community voted overwhelmingly to end the financial, commercial and economic embargo against Cuba at the United Nations General Assembly. The resolution was approved by a vote of 188 in favor of the resolution, 3 opposed and 2 abstentions. As you know, the 188 nations voting to condemn U.S. policy represent the largest number of countries opposing the embargo in the 21 year history of this vote.

As the rest of the world has pointed out, the embargo imposed on Cuba for more than 50 years has caused unnecessary suffering to the Cuban people. That suffering is exacerbated even more at a time of a natural disaster such as the recent Hurricane Sandy, which brought incredible devastation to not only the East Coast of the United States but also many Caribbean countries including Cuba.

The National Network on Cuba, a U.S. umbrella organization whose members stand in solidarity with the Cuban people, urgently appeals to your administration for a humanitarian gesture to lift all trade and credit restrictions imposed on Cuba. By doing so, this island nation will be able to purchase medicine, food, construction materials, machinery and equipment necessary to rebuild and recover from this disaster. We refuse to be passive witnesses of this unjust policy particularly in a time of a natural disaster.

We would also point out that Cuba generously aided its neighbors when they were struck by Hurricanes Mitch and Georges. Cuba reached out and offered assistance to the New Orleans community struck by Hurricane Katrina and provided tremendous aid to the victims of the Haitian earthquake.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy many countries of the world have extended their solidarity to the Cuban people; why can’t we do the same? Lifting the restrictions imposed by the United States and allowing Cuba to obtain needed food, medicine, and rebuilding material will be a unique opportunity for the United States to show to the world and particularly to our neighboring countries in Latin America that we are a caring nation which acts to alleviate the suffering of others.

Finally, we hope that you will listen to the near unanimous voice of the international community as demonstrated by today’s United Nations vote and totally end the economic embargo of Cuba.

Respectfully yours,

National Network On Cuba Co-Chairs
Alicia Jrapko
Sobukwe Kumba
Marilyn McKenna
Banbose Shango
Nalda Vigezzi

Congressional Black Caucus (CBC)
Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC)
Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC)
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
United States Department of State

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