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Grassroots Action Center

Contact Congress: Ask Biden to Address Humanitarian Needs and Restore Engagement on Cuba
The people of Cuba are experiencing the worst economic and humanitarian crisis in recent times and the situation on the island is dire.   Our partners in the Cuban churches—congregants, ministers, and their communities— have expressed their distress concerning the severe shortages of basic medicines, food, and other vital materials amidst the COVID-19 battle.  It is urgent that the United States government prioritize the well-being of the Cuban people, irrespective of political considerations, by taking immediate humanitarian steps and suspending U.S. regulations that prevent assistance from reaching Cuba and the Cuban people.

Rep. Jim McGovern, along with Rep. Barbara Lee, and Rep. Gregory Meeks, are inviting their colleagues in the House to join them in a letter to President Biden urging a U.S. policy towards Cuba that addresses the humanitarian and economic crisis and restores a policy of engagement.

The letter asks the administration to:

  • Suspend U.S. regulations that prevent food, medicine, and other humanitarian assistance from reaching the Cuban people.
  • Remove all restrictions on family remittances, allowing Cuban-Americans to help their families and improve their standard of living, and the restrictions on non-family remittances, allowing nonprofits and faith groups to provide humanitarian assistance and start-up capital for Cuban entrepreneurs and civil society.
  • Fully re-staff the U.S. Embassy in Havana, with the necessary measures to ensure the safety of U.S. personnel, and resume consular services in Cuba.
  • Rollback the Trump administration’s restrictions on travel to Cuba, since they make it more difficult for Cuban-Americans to visit and reunite with family on the island, particularly for those with families outside of Havana.
  • Remove Cuba from the State Sponsor of Terrorism (SSOT) list, since this designation places another roadblock in the path towards improved relations and creates further obstacles to purchasing or receiving humanitarian goods.

Cuba’s economic crisis has been caused by numerous factors.  But, it is clear that the U.S. economic embargo is contributing to the worsening humanitarian situation the island is facing.   The Biden administration must take the necessary steps to remove all obstacles preventing families and communities in the U.S. from helping families in Cuba.  As the "dear colleague" letter states, "Protecting human rights in Cuba, including the right to protest, is better served by principled engagement, rather than unilateral isolation, which has proven to be a failed policy."

 

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