Saturday, September 6, 2008

On the Provision of Humanitarian Aid to Cuba

In view of the natural disasters that have lately befallen Cuba, compounded, as they are, by the regime's wilful abandonment of the island's infrastructure which has made the Cuban people infinitely more vulnerable to the effects of a Gustav or a Hannah than was ever the case before 1959, when there were no buildings in imminent danger of collapse before a hurricane struck nor a lack of basic supplies to combat and survive it, the question on most people's minds, or, at least, in the minds of Cuban exiles still sensible to the suffering of our countrymen, is how to relieve it.

That this is even a question shows what a unique set of facts confronts us when we attempt to penetrate the wall which Castro has erected between the Cuban people and the outside world. This wall exists to hide from the world the misery of the Cuban people and from the Cuban people the world's concern and disposition to help them. One would suppose that a time of national emergency the regime would lower or even dismantle that wall if only for the duration of the emergency; but in fact its efforts at such times are geared to shoring it up because its first priority is not to protect the people from natural or man-made disasters but to shield them from being "compromised" by the well-intentioned charity of others. When Cuba most needs the world's help, the regime is most wary of the world.

It's in the regime's interest to make the Cuban people feel that they are alone in the world, isolated and besieged even at the moment of their greatest need, and with no one to turn to but those who look upon their suffering as an opportunity to intensify their bondage. It's not just the labels on food packages that are considered subversive, though "Donated by the people of the United States," or by any other "non-fraternal" people whose largesse is unwelcome by the regime, is the tangible refutation of a half-century of Castroite propaganda. The labels could be easily torn off; in fact, they are are torn off when U.S. aid is funnelled through some United Nations agency and the contents then sold in state-owned stores or re-gifted to third countries as Cuba's contribution to their relief efforts.

What is most objectionable to the regime, however, is the very idea that, for the first time since Castro assumed control of food distribution 47 years ago, Cubans might actually have full stomachs for a day, a week or a month; that the hurricane, despite its ravages, might provide them with a reprieve from their daily routine of scavenging for food from daybreak to dusk, in the hope of filling the pot that was empty today and will be empty tomorrow without the replication of their exertions. At concentration camps, also, prisoners were kept on the edge of starvation so that all their efforts would be channelled to obtaining the turnip or potato that might allow them to cheat death another day. Castro has adapted that policy to an entire nation. If he had ever fulfilled their material needs, Cubans might have expected more of him. The human spirit rebels against injustice when life is not a struggle to keep body and soul together; but when it is, the needs of body come before the needs of the spirit. Without life there is no hope; but hope by itself cannot sustain life. Those who chastise Cubans for not rebelling against the regime should remember that the only victory within their grasp is to survive it. That, too, was the only victory available to the survivors of Weyler's camps.

How, then, can we alleviate the suffering of our countrymen on the island when we are barred from even mailing them a food package by those holding them hostage? We cannot depend on foreign countries because their assistance is neither wanted nor welcome; and, if accepted, will not be directed to those who need it. The obstacles which the regime has put in place to discourage donor nations will not stimulate munificence on their part when a token gesture elicits a more favorable response than the most generous offer.

Now, as always, it is Cuban exiles who have the greatest interest in the survival of our countrymen on the island. The most effective means at our disposal is still remittances. Yes, the regime will not declare a moratorium on usury because of the hurricane and shall, as usual, take its 10 or 20 percent off the top from all monies sent to Cuba. The rest, too, will eventually find its way into its coffers because in Cuba there is no trickle down, only trickle up. But the regime will get its hands on that money only after it has alleviated the suffering of millions of our people, and made them less, not more, dependent on it. The choice is not between starving the regime and starving the Cuban people, as I myself once mistakenly believed. The regime will not be starved out of power; its resources are already sufficient to insure its own survival, which is all that matters to it. The Cuban people, whether they die in the thousands or in the millions, signify only collateral damage since all is expendable in Cuba and will be sacrificed to maintain the Castro dynasty in power.

There is nothing more subversive we can do than feed and clothe the Cuban people and our success will be measured by how far we can extend our efforts on their behalf. These are necessarily hampered by the restrictions on remittances put in place by the Bush administration, which limited the amount that could be sent to relatives in Cuba and defined which relatives were eligible to receive assistance. The Cuban concept of family has resisted Castro's worst attempts to deconstruct it. By limiting "family" to parents and siblings, Bush in effect accomplished what Castro never could -- the dissolution of the extended Cuban family. In Cuba, family transcends even blood; it is a maze of inter-relations based on kinship but not restricted to it which has enabled even those without children to survive. To splinter the Cuban family is to weaken the Cuban people's strongest line of defense against the regime. Everything that strengthens it has the reciprocal effect of weakening the regime.

Bush's restrictions on remittances have allowed Barack Obama to become the spokesman for their elimination. Of course, he couldn't care less about remittances or the welfare of the Cuban people. It is the elimination of the trade embargo and resumption of relations with Communist Cuba which concern him and his foreign policy managers. Obama has called on President Bush to suspend temporarily the provisions of the U.S. trade embargo in response to the devastation wreaked by Gustav in Cuba. He did not request that Raúl Castro remove the barriers that have been put in place to hinder the provision of humanitarian aid to the island. When Obama asked for the suspension of the embargo what he really wanted was the extension of lines of credit to the regime, which is the only aspect of bilateral trade which the embargo currently proscribes. Or, to put it another way, Obama wants the U.S. to offer "remittances" to Castro himself while cutting out the middle men (i.e. the Cuban people), though eventually saddling them with the debt for underwriting their oppression.

Cuban exiles, as always, find ourselves in an untenable position, and within its narrow confines, we must decide what is best for our people.


Fantomas said...

CON LO ULTIMO DEL HURACAN MINUTO A MINUTO, noticiero de cuba en vivo

Angel Garzón said...

So sad, yet so truthful, our reality is a litany of pain interrupted once in a blue moon by glimmers of hope for all our people. Your description of the Cuban "family" is spot on Manuel, contrary to the rather cold interpretation of such by the Anglo-Saxon people, cultures and nations. Ours is a unique remnant of what once was a happy people, our society had its problems, most of which were not created by our people but rather imposed upon them by foreigners, but most of the time such invaders and carpet-baggers did not succeed in their attempts to "civilize" our people, in fact the opposite took place, it was them that became "civilized" by the influence of our good-natured societal traits and customs, it truly baffles logic that such great promise would eventually be detested and supplanted with pure evil by one of our own and his many followers, sad indeed.

Vana said...

I have already sent money to my cousin and our neighbor across the street in Cuba, wish I could send to others and help them in their hour of need but we all know it will end up in the regimes pocket, as always we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place.

Ms Calabaza said...

Yes, how typical of Obama. Throw money at the problem even if the money will never get to it's intended needy. As long as Obama and his ilk can say that they "tried to help" is all that matters. BTW, it's money out of our pocketbooks, not his personal money that is being thrown around...He should really just send it directly to Raul's account in Switzerland.

Anonymous said...

ms. calabaza,

First, using this well-timed post to make a political statement against Obama is inapporpriate, and small.

Second, the American government taking over Freddie and Frannie is as about as communist as it gets.

Third, nice post Manuel, it seems because it is the Cuban people that are getting harmed, the American media doesnt care, and apparently neither do some Cuban-Americans ,like Calabaza.

Finally, Ms.Calabaza you can now return to slamming Obama, while ignoring the tradegy that is unfolding in Cuba. As it is obvious that your heart does not care about the death and destruction that the hurricanes are devstating Cuba, and her people.

Oh i forgot, some Cuban-Americans have wished the pressure-cooker upon Cuba for several decades.

Congratulations, you have finally gotten what you have been praying for all these years...

Ms Calabaza said...


get a grip and read my post again... I care about Cuba's people but giving money to Raulito and his band of merry men is not going to help. Bringing up Obama is what I plan to do until I feel like it or Manuel asks to to stop on his site. So, get used to it. Furthermore, I won't waste my time arguing with an "Anonymous".

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


I don't think that Ms. Calabaza wants to render the Cuban people in a pressure cooker. That idea has other adherents, as you know; but she is not and never has been one of them.

She is angry, and rightly so, that charity in Cuba begins at the Castro home(s) and stays there.

Castro's Swiss bank account is not a state secret, nor is the fact that every cent deposited there has been wrung from the brows of the Cuban people.

Moreover, no one would profit more than Fidel Castro from the lifting of the trade embargo because his "holding company" controls all of Cuba's assets and can dispose of them at pleasure.

The only corporation that Barack Obama seems to like and would favor with all kinds of concessions is "Castro & Co."

Fantomas said...

lo ultimo IKE audio desde cuba

Anonymous said...

Calabaza, nobody is stopping you from slamming Obama, as it seems as if that is more important to you then the suffering of Cuba during these hurricanes. More importantly, all your slamming of Obama in RCAB wont make a bit of difference in November.

But what would make a difference is actually rolling up your sleeves as other Cubans the world over, and assisting Cuba in her time of need.

Fantomas said...

magazine cubano hoy de 8pm a 11pm todo relacionado con ike, estare ahi

telefono para llamar y salir al aire 1- 787 758-7230

Agustin Farinas said...

"More importantly, all your slamming of Obama in RCAB wont make a bit of difference in November".
There is an old American saying That is wise to remember:
"don't count your chickens before all the eggs are hatched"
Why don't you wait until the elections have taken place and the voters have had their say? It is very early to know who will win in November.

Anonymous said...


Maybe, you read something into my post that i never wrote. I expect Mccain to win in November, but it wont be because of Calabaza writing negative remarks to like-minded people in RCAB. Everybody knows that the Cuban-American dislikes Obama. You have stated so thousands of times already, and will state so thousands of more times...

Moreover, that is not my point. The destruction of Cuba, i thought would be the topic, and ways that we might help. I see a lot of ideas in other blogs on how to help Cuba in this most dire of times.

But, please dont let me interfere with your priorities that concern you the most. As the destruction of Cuba is a non-issue for some, and a hope for others.


I think i am just upset, because i know that some Cuban-Americans are quietly gleeful of the destruction of Cuba, and her people. As they have proudly stated so (pressure-cooker.) And other then Manuel, it seems that the lack of thoughts about Cuba facing a Cat 4 confirms their wishes are not of the isolated nature.


Manuel A.Tellechea said...


The destruction of Cuba is the work of Fidel Castro. The hurricanes are toppling the ruins that he made.

Cari said...


Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are private entities which receive special support from the Federal Government. They have special credit lines from the US treasury and used to be public institutions before going private. If you follow the financial markets, you would know that both of these institutions have had numerous scandals with respect to miss management. Since they are backed by the government, unlike regular banks, it is only fitting that when the miss management reaches a crescendo, that the Feds assume control.

Vana said...


No use arguing with an anon who wants to make an issue out of nothing, we all know how we feel about Cuba, I'm sure we are all helping the best we can, anon did not get why Ms C said what she said, we did.

Anonymous said...


Not all Cuban-Americans feel the same way about Cuba.

Please See: Val Prieto & Co

Vana said...


I think we all know how Val Prieto thinks and feels about our brethen, I was not including him in my riends comment since he's not my friend.

Fantomas said...

Esto no lo escribi yo pero se lo dedico a Fariñas

viva cuba libre dijo:

Septiembre 7, 2008 , 22:25
—————que coincidencia que el dia de la patrona de cuba es el dia que el huracan ike azotara la isla de lado a lado. esto tiene un solo significado. es el castigo que ella le esta mandando al pueblo de cuba por la doble moral que existe. es como si le estubiera diciendo escuchen a gorki cuando gorki dice en sus canciones “raul saca los tanques para que el pueblo se levante.——————– que mas espera el PUEBLO DE CUBA CUANDO SU PROPIO DICTADOR LE PROHIBE QUE LE MANDEN AYUDA…………………………..

Ms Calabaza said...


thanks for your kind words. I appreciate your confidence in the fact that I would never wish harm on my people on the island.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, i just saw Pat Buchannon on Morning Joe, say that the Bush adminstration should help the people of Cuba with hurricane relief help. That the Cuban government is our enemy, and not the Cuban people. Brilliant words, much like the case that Manuel has made many times before. But the Bush adminstration has refused to help the citizens of Cuba. I guess the Bush adminstration sees the Cuban people and Cuban government who enslaves them, as one in the same.

I have a question for you Manuel. Why are so many people unable to distinguish between the brutal Cuban government, and their innocent Cuban citizens that they brutalize? Is it just pure intellectual laziness on their behalf? Or is it something more sinister.


I will go and find Pat Buchannon's remarks and post them in here later today when it is released.

Anonymous said...


donde esta Hugo Chavez con sus millones. Ahorita tiene buques rusos en sus puertos para llevar ayuda.

Vana said...

Ms C:

No need to thank me I know you are a caring person who feels deeply as we all do about our brethen.

Vana said...

El castigo de Cachita por la doble moral que existe??? por favor Cachita nos esta castigando desde 1959, cuando dio la vuelta y nos viro la espalda.

Anonymous said...

I mean really, couldnt the Bush adminstration at least send some medical supplies. If for nothing else then for the Cuban babies, and children. I would hope that even Val Prieto and others like him could agree, that Cuban babies are not communist, right? Or has the bigotry against Cubans gotten so rabid, that Cubans babies must also be thrown into the vaunted pressure-cooker?