Monday, September 15, 2008


In the Monday press briefing, the State Department spokesman explains the U.S. offer of $5 million in aid that Cuba rejected.

He also talks about the recent granting of licenses for sales of agricultural products, saying that licenses for sales of about $250 million have been granted since Hurricane Gustav. The licenses include lumber, which fits in the definition of agricultural products permitted for export. He lumps these exports together with the aid offer, just as Administration spokesmen have done on previous occasions with regard to humanitarian donations.

Regarding the aid, as discussed below, I think it was a good offer that Cuba should have accepted.

Regarding the licenses, it’s good that they are proceeding, but I find it hard to grant the Administration credit for simply allowing normal private activities to proceed. The agricultural sales have been routine since 2001. And while the Administration says it is expediting licensing of humanitarian donations, it would make far more sense if Americans were not required to get licenses from two federal agencies (Treasury and Commerce) if they want to make a charitable donation, say, to a church in Cuba.

Above all, this discussion diverts attention from the fact that the Administration has given the back of its hand to dissidents in Cuba and many voices in Miami and elsewhere in America, who have called for suspension of restrictions on direct aid to family members in Cuba in this time of emergency.


leftside said...

The one thing I will give the State Department credit for is making the license application and approval process easier and quicker. Some good organizations got their licenses applications for humanitarian aid turned around rather quickly. But there is no doubt that the blockade is severely limiting the ability of Americans to help those in Cuba. Donations (from aid organizations and Americans) will much much lower than they would be otherwise. I also wonder how much of my donation(s) is going to go towards the administrative fees and inefficiencies due to the inhumane laws.

theCardinal said...

blah, blah, blah...lets stop playing games and just give that money to the Haitians. At least it will help someone. Both sides are too busy playing politics on this to actually care about those Cubans that need the help.

Anonymous said...

how is offering a planeload of relief supplies with no conditions playing politics?