Two prominent Communist dissidents in Cuba delivered a letter to the US Interests Section in Havana yesterday, addressed to President Bush. Marta Beatriz Roque and Vladimiro Roca pleaded with Bush to ease the American ban on travel and money transfers to Cuba, after Hurricane Gustav left the country's buildings and electricity infrastructure damaged and many people homeless.
The letter explained:
Knowing how intransigent the Cuban government is about accepting help from your country . . . we ask that you permit American non-governmental organizations to help the region so as to soothe the suffering of its inhabitants.
Russia has already sent aid, welcomed by Cuban officials, hinting at a revival of traditional Cold War relations. Perhaps lifting the ban, an act of placing humanitarian over political interests, could also give the US a geopolitical advantage. After all, it would be a PR blow to the Communist regime when people in the US have to step in to help its own people.