Sunday, September 7, 2008

Helping hurricane victims...

I was reading CNN this morning and was surprised by a couple of paragraphs at the end of the article. The article was about people in the Caribbean and in Florida preparing for Hurricane Ike. For some reason, news about hurricanes is always interesting. It might be watching the sheer force of mother nature with the wind and the rain and the flooding. It might be the heart-warming stories of how people survived. In some cases, like Hurricane Katrina, it was the horror of the flooding and seeing people die on the streets because there wasn't any food or water and the chaos that ensued when violence broke out on the streets and the days and days it took for help to arrive. It is watching the paths that these storms take because I don't want them to go near my family in North Carolina. It's the communities that come together after the storm to rebuild their homes and churches and towns. But always, I look for the heart-warming stories. The ones of hope and trust and the ability to rebuild and improve and overcome the challenges Mother Nature presents us with.

So maybe being it was a Sunday morning and I was on my way to church and was purposely thinking about praying those who are facing hard times, but some of the content in this article really stuck out to me. Here it is (I know you've been waiting for it..)

Cuba asked the U.S. to loosen the trade embargo, so Cuba could buy materials to help them recover from being hit by two hurricanes in just as many weeks.


"If the government of the United States is really willing to cooperate with the Cuban people in face of the tragedy of the hurricane, it is requested to allow the sale to Cuba of those materials considered indispensable and to suspend the restrictions that prevent U.S. companies from offering private commercial credits to our country for the purchase of food in the United States," said the statement from the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"In all truth, the only correct and ethical action ... would be to eliminate totally and permanently the ruthless and cruel economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed against our Motherland for almost half a century," the statement said.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement Friday, after government officials had offered to help Cuban flood victims.

"We do not believe that at this time it is necessary to loosen the restrictions on remittances and travel to Cuba to accomplish the objective of aiding the hurricane victims," the statement said.


Do you see the problem with this?? Or am I the only one that thinks it's totally unjust for the U.S. to refuse to temporarily loosen a trade embargo so that innocent flood victims -- families with children and grandparents and brothers and sisters just like us -- can buy the supplies they need to so that they can rebuild their homes?? So that they can buy food and water so that they don't starve?? Aren't we all children of God??

Cuba isn't even asking us for a hand out. They want to buy the supplies from us. Last time I checked, our faltering economy would probably benefit from engaging in trade a small island country.

Why does the U.S. dislike Cuba so much that they won't even sell supplies to people in need? I understand that they have a different form of government -- they have communism and a dictator -- but last time I checked the Cold War ended in 1989, almost 20 years ago.

All day since I read the article, this issue has been bugging me. These paragraphs were at the bottom of the article this morning...and the updated version of the article didn't even mention it. I had to scour the CNN website to find the one from this morning, so I could blog about it. Apparently, it's not very newsworthy that the people of Cuba are being ignored by our own government.

I will pray and hope that there will be heart-warming stories in the wake of Hurricane Ike. Perhaps, our government can look at this request for help as an opportunity to do the right thing -- to put aside the differences and disagreements with Fidel Castro and to help the people of Cuba by selling the supplies they need, so that they can rebuild their homes, churches and schools and can have food and water to eat and drink while they rebuild.

On Friday, I called my nieces to see how their first week of school went. Amanda started Kindergarten this week. She told me about her class and the friends she's made. Here's what one of her new friends told her, and she wanted to tell me too.

"Did you know that President Bush doesn't care if people get hurt?"

At the time, it was a simple statement, cute coming from a five year old who is too innocent to know much about the terrible things to go on in our world. But today, after reading the article and being reminded once again about our country letting the needs of humans go unmet and letting innocent kids -- not much unlike my niece -- suffer, the statement rings true in my ears.


  1. It is interesting how this all works, isn't it? It seems that things would work out much better worldwide if we remember that we are all humans, all brothers and sisters.

  2. Jenny this is a very heartfelt commentary even if it is long. I have thought for some time even during the cold war that our Cuba policy was stupid because it not only hurt Cuba but also hurt America. Now you correctly point out the immorality as well. This is but one small example why we need a new leader in washington who can move away from the cold war way of thinking. That is why the choice for Anerica's future is so important this november. I am really impressed by your thoughtful concerns for others. Dad


What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear.