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Posted September 04, 2008 by publisher in Cuba Human Rights

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By WILL WEISSERT | Associated Press

Two prominent Cuban dissidents have asked U.S. President George W. Bush to temporarily loosen restrictions on travel and sending money to the communist-run island to help tens of thousands left homeless by Hurricane Gustav.

Marta Beatriz Roque and Vladimiro Roca signed a Spanish-language letter to Bush which they delivered to the U.S. Interests Section in Havana on Wednesday. Officials at the mission, which Washington maintains here instead of an embassy, said they passed it along to the White House.

The letter, sent by fax to foreign reporters on Thursday, asks Bush to lift restrictions on travel and money transfers to Cuba by Cuban exiles in the United States “for at least two months.”

“You know as well as we do that any family member abroad would like to have physical contact with those who are going through a difficult situation,” they wrote.

Gustav slammed into western Cuba with 140 mph (220 kph) winds on Saturday, ripping roofs off homes, leveling buildings, tossing trees, cars and power lines and crumpling electric towers.

About 100,000 homes nationwide were damaged, thousands beyond repair, and Fidel Castro suggested recovery could cost billions of dollars.

“Knowing how intransigent the Cuban government is about accepting help from your country ... we ask that you permit American non-governmental organizations to help the region so as to soothe the suffering of its inhabitants,” the dissidents wrote.

Past hurricanes have served to soften the U.S. embargo, if indirectly.

In 2000, the U.S. Congress authorized direct sales of American food and farm products to the island. The communist government refused to import even one grain of rice for more than a year because of a dispute over financing, but finally agreed to take advantage of the law after Hurricane Michelle in November 2001 cut into its food stocks.

Today the United States is the island’s leading supplier of food.

Raul Castro, who succeeded his brother Fidel as president six months ago, has not asked for international aid, though Russian planes carrying tents, building materials and food landed in Cuba on Thursday.

Roque is a former government official who was among 75 political activists sentenced to prison in 2003 on charges of conspiring with U.S. officials to undermine Cuba’s communist system. She was subsequently conditionally released for medical reasons.

Roca is a former fighter pilot and son of a legendary communist leader who served nearly five years in prison for his political beliefs.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on September 04, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Hmmm. So Roque and Roca want the Embargo lifted. Paya wants the Embargo lifted. The Democrats want the Embargo lifted. All the US businesses and states selling food to Cuba want the Embargo lifted.

    Who is left? Oh yeah, the ones who have been controlling US Cuba policy all along, the old Cuban exiles who have no family left in Cuba. Did I mention they represent a huge voting block in the Presidential election swing state of Florida?

    What a great foreign policy.

    Cuba consulting services

  2. Follow up post #2 added on September 05, 2008 by ERIC,NYC

    The only embargo I care about is the one that prohibits me from going there.Isn’t America supposed to be about freedom to travel FREELY anywhere you want to go?
      Gee,I thought those were the “ideals” we were defending after 9/11…..
    I was frankly HORRIFIED that the US did not offer aid to Cuba in the midst of this disastrous hurricane Gustav for Cuba…..
      Americans are pigs…..They needed all the help they could get after Katrina and the arrogant Bush administration ignored the Cubans much needed offer of help ......
      I am glad the Neo-Kon empire goes down….No matter who gets into the not so White House,Policy towards Cuba will change and fast….
      The Americans have lost alot of prime hotels and the best hotels are joint ventures with Spain and new Cuban business-military elite under Raul.
      All we want is to travel to Cuba…..Your porous embargo is a failure,like Katrina,the war in Iraq,the economy and this impertinent punitive action against Cubans who need to see their parents and grandparents….
    GOD DAMN(I’m not religious) Bush ,it is just one more reason as a Cuban-AMerican to hate his guts.
      By all means keep the embargo in place…..Things are changing with help from the EU,Venezuela,Iran,China and the pace will quicken as Raul’s new policies are solidified….GOD WILLING.
    So,I knew that the US has been selling food to CUba for a while know…..Are these people not hypocrites or what ? And yet you can’t buy a Cohiba cigar in new York City…..It is illegal.SCOTTY BEAM ME UP! !!!!!

  3. Follow up post #3 added on September 09, 2008 by Mako with 172 total posts

    Calm down pig -man

  4. Follow up post #4 added on September 09, 2008 by ERIC,NYC

    HAHAHA !!! Hey MAKO ,this “Pig Man” eats sharks !!!

    ....funny,the word I have to type in to respond is “federal34”....ya’ think I’m being monitered ? In the land of free speech and “demokrazy”? Naaaah !!!

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