Email received from http://LAWG.org and we support their efforts to help the Cuban people. The Havana Journal has signed the petition mentioned below.
We have joined with several other Cuba policy organizations in offering a list of organizations that are providing relief assistance to the victims of these hurricanes and which are accepting hurricane relief donations. See the CubaCentral message at: http://www.democracyinamericas.org/Hurricane_Ike/Gustav_Relief
In addition to this, and perhaps even more importantly, we call on you to advocate persistently and loudly for an end to restrictions that prevent Americans from directly coming to the aid of our Cuban sisters and brothers. We have a three-point request:
* Call your member of Congress and senators (Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121; this is the most effective way to be heard by your members of Congress). The message to Congress is “Call on the White House to immediately end Treasury (OFAC) and Commerce Department restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba so that all Americans and IRS-recognized not-for-profit organizations can aid Cubans directly and without impediments”. Send the same message to the White House: Comment Line: 202-456-1111; Switchboard: 202-456-1414; Fax: 202-456-2461.
* Donate to humanitarian organizations with a track record and Commerce Department licenses to provide emergency aid and support to Cubans as they face dire conditions in the aftermath of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. See http://www.democracyinamericas.org/Hurricane_Ike/Gustav_Relief .
* Stay tuned (check back on our website, http://www.lawg.org ) for potential information from the Cuban government about their specific needs and any requests for assistance. It is possible that Cuba may ask only for our advocacy in ending restrictions on trade and travel. For the moment, and be sure to look at this, here is what Cuba has said about U.S. aid: http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu/english/news/art09.html , and how the Department of State responded to a question about the call to temporarily loosen restrictions on travel and sending money to Cuba in the wake of the hurricanes: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2008/sept/109218.htm
In addition, we urge you to sign an on-line petition that will be delivered to the White House and to Congress calling for a suspension of travel and remittance restrictions: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Cubafloodaid/index.html .
There have already been a number of strong messages to President Bush to end or suspend these onerous restrictions: House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Berman, Senator Obama, Representative Serrano, Representative Flake and others.
Finally, spread the word! Forward this article to a friend to broaden the call for ending the restrictions and aiding the Cuban people.