On August 5, a large oil tank in Matanzas, Cuba was hit by lightning, starting the largest fire in Cuban history. This left 17 firefighters missing, some 125 people injured and almost 5,000 people evacuated from their homes and neighborhoods.
U.S. sanctions are making this disaster worse. Faith communities have had difficulties getting much-needed aid to the island before the explosion. And given the recent disaster, maintaining the Trump administration's restrictions is unbelievably cruel.
The Office of Public Witness is calling for the United States Government to take the following actions:
- Remove Cuba from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism which prevents Cuba from accessing crucial needs, both in this disaster and in its everyday and normal transactions.
- Lift the 243 sanctions imposed by the Trump administration and still in effect today. These sanctions restrict humanitarian organizations in the United States from providing swift and unfettered assistance to Cuba.
Our neighbors in Cuba need relief. Please use the power of your voice to demand a change in policy and humanitarian relief for Cuba in this time of great need.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is in communication with our partners on the ground and is working to get aid to those affected as quickly as possible. If you would like to donate to their efforts, please go here and designate your giving to the Cuba account - DR000150.