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Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Secretary Gutierrez Statement on Cuban Regime’s Failure to Respond to U.S.’s Fourth Offer of Humanitarian Assistance to Cuba

WASHINGTON—U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez released the following statement regarding the Cuban government’s five-day silence following our fourth offer of humanitarian aid in the wake of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike:

“Our offer is unprecedented and unconditional. We regret that the Cuban government has failed to move quickly to accept our latest offer of humanitarian assistance. On Friday, the United States extended its fourth offer, which was in direct response to the Cuban government’s plea for construction materials. In addition to the aid contained in previous offers, the U.S. Government was prepared to deliver, via air and sea, building supplies and shelter kits that could provide temporary and permanent housing that could bring relief to more than 135,000 Cubans. By all accounts the situation in Cuba demands immediate attention, so it is regrettable that the Cuban government has allowed the situation to persist so long.

“Getting aid to the Cuban people has been a top priority. Reports from news agencies and relief organizations that have visited the island indicate that as many as 2.5 million Cubans were relocated during the storms, and 200,000 remain without homes. We understand the tremendous struggles left in the wake of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, and we want to offer the Cuban people the supplies they need to begin recovery. The United States will continue to stand ready to provide relief to the Cuban people.”

Secretary Gutierrez co-chairs the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a U.S. Cabinet-level commission formed to explore ways the United States can help hasten and ease a democratic transition in Cuba.