The Bush administration offered Cuba $50,000 in aid and a pledge of “solidarity’’ after Hurricane Charley passed through the island nation en route to Florida.
“The United States regrets the damage caused by Hurricane Charley and expresses its solidarity with the Cuban people,’’ State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said in a statement issued in Washington. “The Cuban people can count on America’s support in these difficult times.’’
The State Department, which lists Cuba as one of seven countries the U.S. regards as state sponsors of terrorism, thereby making it ineligible for non-humanitarian economic assistance, also is offering “$50,000 in U.S. funds immediately to meet the humanitarian needs of the Cuban people,’’ Ereli said.
Winds as strong as 124 mph were reported in Cuba as Charley passed through Havana and other cities this morning. Charley caused minor property damage in Cuba and no casualties were reported, the Associated Press said. Ereli said the U.S. is “working to assist the Cuban people with the humanitarian crisis they now face.’’
Ereli, in the statement, requested help from any U.S. non- governmental organizations and religious groups with licenses to export humanitarian goods to Cuba. He also called on the government of Cuban leader Fidel Castro “to facilitate the provision of this assistance directly to the Cuban people.’’
The U.S. provides food aid to North Korea and gave earthquake assistance to Iran, two countries also designated by the State Department as state sponsors of terrorism.
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