During this year’s hurricane season Cuba has been hit by two devastating storms – Gustav and Ike. 

Its eastern region also suffered flooding damage from Hurricane Hanna. 

Civil defense officials say that at least 320,000 Cuban homes have been destroyed or damaged as a result of the storms, and that country’s infrastructure – particularly its electrical grid – has been badly battered.

Although the Cuban authorities successfully evacuated over a million Cubans to places of safety during the storms, four persons died. Many survivors still face serious physical and psychological distress.

The Bush administration cynically offered Cuba a donation of $100,000 – a pittance, given U.S. resources – and, adding insult to injury, stipulated that the money go only to groups in Cuba that Washington approves of. It also offered to send a disaster assessment team, which Cuba said it didn’t need. The Cuban government called these cynical offers “humiliating” and rejected them.

Cuba, which has selflessly aided other peoples in distress (including offers of medical aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina), needs our help now.

*Demand that the Bush administration immediately lift the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba* and allow it to receive and to buy all the food and building supplies it urgently needs. Write to your elected officials (http://cubanaid.blogspot.com/2008/09/letter-to-president-and-leaders-of.html) and sign an online petition to lift the blockade (http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Cubafloodaid/ ).

*Donate money to Cuba’s hurricane relief efforts.* While there are many possible ways of contributing financially to Cuba’s recovery, here are two groups that have worked closely with the Cuban Health Ministry and to which you can donate online. Both have offices in the U.S.; both are licensed to convey such aid; and in both cases your contribution is tax-deductible.

Global Links. Global Links’ program of medical aid to Cuba began in 1994 at the request of The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). This program is a federally licensed humanitarian aid program. Aid sent is received and distributed to health institutions by the PAHO/WHO office in Havana and the Cuban Ministry of Health. Global Links has received a list of requested products from PAHO and is raising funds to purchase and send them to Cuba. (http://www.globallinks.org/where_we_work/cuba/ )

MEDICC. MEDICC-Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba, is a non-profit organization working to enhance cooperation among the U.S., Cuban and global health communities aimed at better health outcomes. MEDICC supports education and development of human resources in health committed to equitable access and quality care, providing the Cuban experience to inform global debate, practice, policies and cooperation in health. MEDICC is seeking financial donations to replenish stocks of key medical reference books lost at the badly damaged Isle of Youth Medical School, where over 2,000 young Cubans study medicine and public health. (http://www.medicc.org/ns/index.php?s=3&p=3 )

End the U.S. blockade of Cuba now! Provide humanitarian aid to the Cuban people with no strings attached!