A major fire has been burning at an oil storage facility in Matanzas, Cuba. In response, The People's Forum — an educational space and movement incubator for grassroots organizations — and allied groups wrote an urgent and public appeal to President Biden. The appeal has been signed by a prominent group of politicians, intellectuals, scientists, clergy, artists, musicians, leaders, and activists who call on the White House to immediately lift Trump's 243 unilateral and additional sanctions that are hindering Cuba's efforts to confront this fire and recover from a major energy crisis affecting the island. Signers include Roger Waters, Cornel West, Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Jeremy Corbyn, Rev. Liz Theoharis, Seun Kuti, and Vijay Prashad.
The letter was drafted because of the urgency of the situation and the immediate need to lift U.S. sanctions to allow international aid into the country. This fire, the largest in Cuban history, comes when Cuba is undergoing an energy crisis due to soaring global fuel costs and aging infrastructure. This oil tank fire will undoubtedly only further exacerbate the electricity outages that Cubans are suffering during this hot summer. It will have a negative impact on the general well-being of Cubans amid sanctions and a reinforced blockade imposed by the Trump administration and continued under Biden.
U.S. sanctions are fueling the fires that rage in Cuba. It has proven difficult or impossible for U.S. entities to provide desperately needed relief and response, despite assurances by the U.S. Embassy in Havana that the law authorizes U.S. entities to provide disaster relief and response. Due to the sanctions, there are long, complex processes to get licenses to send aid, usually taking months for approval. Additionally, Cuba's inclusion in the State Sponsors of Terrorism List means that banks in both the United States and abroad are reluctant to process humanitarian donations, making it essentially impossible to send desperately needed funds.
"We stand with the Cuban people," Biden wrote on July 12, 2022. The letter signers respond: "When your neighbor's house is on fire, the normal human reaction is to rush next door to help. Cuba is our neighbor!"
The United States loses nothing by being a good neighbor and lifting the 243 sanctions that prevent Cuba from recovering fully from this tragic moment. The Biden Administration can do more than just offer technical advice. It can immediately remove Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List with the stroke of a pen and send material aid to the island.
The open letter is a joint initiative between the ANSWER Coalition, IFCO/Pastors for Peace, CODEPINK, and The People's Forum to change the immoral and short-sighted policy of the U.S. blockade of Cuba and to provide much-needed medicine and medical supplies to the Cuban people.
Organizers are available for interviews.
The Open Letter and the list of signers can be found online at LetCubaLive.info/Letter
For more information, contact [email protected] or 646-202-0552.
Press Release Service by Newswire.com
Original Source: The People's Forum Joint Initiative Writes Open Letter to President Biden to End Cuba Sanctions After Deadly Fire