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U.S. embargo will allow humanitarian aid to reach Cuba

Several organizations continue to admit that Cuba has not received humanitarian aid from the United States due to an embargo on the country.

For more than 60 years, the relationship between the United States and Cuba has “has been plagued by distrust and hostility,” according to the Council on Foreign Relations. Organizations say tensions are rooted in the overthrow of the US-backed government Fidel Castro in 1959.

On July 11, 2021, tens of thousands of Cuban demonstrators express dissatisfaction with the Cuban government due to power outages, food and drug shortages, and rapid inflation during the COVID-19 outbreak. I went out to the streets for. However, many critics have blamed the lack of US embargo on Cuba, which has been in place since 1962.

Now, VERIFY viewers want to know if the embargo is preventing humanitarian aid from arriving in Cuba.

question

Does the US embargo allow humanitarian aid to reach Cuba?

Source of information

answer

Yes, the US embargo allows humanitarian aid to reach Cuba, but it is unclear if Cuban citizens have received it.

The VERIFY team received multiple questions about the situation in Cuba. Our researchers investigated this question for several days as to whether Cubans received humanitarian aid from the United States despite the embargo. This was what we found: The United States says it is legally permitted to send aid, and it is sending aid. However, according to sources from some government and non-governmental organizations, there is contradictory information as to whether it is in the hands of the poor Cubans.

What we found

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, relations between the United States and Cuba became hostile when Fidel Castro and a group of revolutionaries overthrew Fulgencio Batista’s US support system in 1959.

In 1961, the United States officially cut off diplomatic relations with the country, and the Council on Foreign Relations stated that the United States had begun to pursue “covert operations” to overthrow the Castro administration.

Then, in 1962, President John F. Kennedy declared comprehensive economic sanctions on trade between the United States and Cuba “in response to certain actions taken by the Cuban government,” according to the US State Department. The embargoes implemented by the US Department of Commerce and the US Treasury are still in place.

At a meeting held at UN headquarters in New York on June 23, 2021, 184 countries agreed with a UN resolution calling for the end of the U.S. sanctions weeks before the outbreak of protests in Cuba on July 11. I cast a vote.Cuba

During the meeting, Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parilla told the UN General Assembly that US sanctions on an embargo on Cuba would produce the medical devices and food needed to develop the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Like a virus, the blockade suffocates, it must be stopped,” Rodriguez said.

Meanwhile, Rodney Hunter, political coordinator of the United Nations mission, said that despite the embargo, the United States is “an important supplier of humanitarian goods to the Cuban people and a major trading partner of Cuba. It’s one. ”

“Every year, we export billions of dollars worth of exports to Cuba, including food and other agricultural products, medicines, medical devices, telecommunications equipment, other commodities and other items, to help the Cuban people. We allow. Promoting democracy and human rights remains at the core of our policy efforts, “said Hunter.

Groups such as the Health Education Cooperation (MEDICC) with Cuba, a non-profit organization that has been working to promote health cooperation between the United States and Cuba since 1997, upheld the UN vote and July 13, 2021. I issued a statement on the day. Its ability to access hard currency for the country and basic needs. ”

“During the pandemic, the US embargo was directly responsible for stopping the urgently needed donations of personal protective equipment for health care workers, food, and medicines. It was in Cuba and It has delayed the development of Cuba’s unique COVID-19 vaccine, which is important for other countries, especially the Caribbean and Africa, and is a direct cause of many of the island’s shortages, “writes MEDICC.

Nonetheless, according to a fact sheet issued by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, “Although the embargo is still in place, U.S. laws and regulations require the export of food, medicine, and other humanitarian goods. Includes exemptions and licenses related to Cuba. US embargoes allow humanitarian goods to reach Cuba, and the US government facilitates demands for exporting humanitarian or pharmaceutical products to Cuba. “

“Because Cuban protesters want their basic freedom and respect for a better future, they also do not meet the most basic needs of people, including food and medicine, the Cuban authority. We are criticizing the authoritarian regime. We are worried about the well-being of the Cuban people, “said the State Department. “There are many options available to facilitate the provision of humanitarian goods to Cuba through the Department of Commerce, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Transport. People trying to help the people of Cuba use these options and have problems. We actively encourage you to contact us if you have any. “

According to the fact sheet, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury maintains several general licenses designed to enable humanitarian relief and assistance to the Cuban people. ..

“The following General License (GL) is a humanitarian travel, trade, under the Cuban Asset Management Regulations (CACR), as outlined in OFAC’s Fact Sheet: Humanitarian Assistance and Trade Provision to Fight COVID 19. And related to Cuba’s support. ”According to the Ministry of State.

“We are actively pursuing measures to support the Cuban people and hold them accountable,” the Biden administration said.

“There is a lot to consider what we do to help the people of Cuba, but it requires a guarantee that it will not be used by another situation or government-for example, the ability to send money — return to Cuba. I won’t do that now because the administration is very likely to confiscate those remittances or their large chunks, “said President Joe Biden at a press conference on July 15 at the White House.

On July 22, 2021, the White House released a fact sheet showing the Biden administration’s efforts to give Cuban citizens access to the Internet. They continue to meet with Cuban-American leaders who are helping to raise the voice of Cuban demonstrators. We are reviewing our remittance policy to ensure that funds reach Cuba without being “sucked up” by the Cuban government. The administration also plans to relocate to the US Embassy in Havana.

Other articles on VERIFY: Fake photos and videos are shared on social media during anti-government protests in Cuba

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U.S. embargo will allow humanitarian aid to reach Cuba

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