FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 5, 2021
On November 5, 2021, the organizations Puentes de Amor, The People’s Forum and CODEPINK are sending a cargo plane loaded with 18,000 pounds of canned tuna and pasta from Miami to Cuba. Representatives of the organizations are traveling to Cuba with the shipment. The aid will be received by the Martin Luther King Center in Havana and will be distributed to Cuba’s eastern provinces.
This Food for Cuba campaign builds on the tremendous success of the Syringes for Cuba campaign, through which a coalition of U.S. groups raised over $500,000 to purchase 6 million syringes for Cuba’s COVID-19 vaccination drive. It is an expression of the growing rejection among the US public of the economic blockade and policies aimed to economically punish the Cuban people.
The November 5 food donation will be followed up with more goods, including powdered milk and vegetable oil, that will be sent separately. The funds raised for the food came from an outpouring of individual donations from people across the United States, including many Cuban Americans.
“One more time, Cuban Americans show their solidarity with their brothers and sisters on the Island,” said Carlos Lazo of Puentes de Amor. “With this gesture, they express their desire to build bridges of love between the people of Cuba and the USA.”
The donations are a response to the dire economic situation in Cuba, which is largely a result of the COVID-induced shutdown of the tourist industry and a tightening of the embargo under Trump. Reversing the gains made by the Obama-Biden administration in normalizing relations with Cuba, Trump added over 200 restrictive measures, including limiting remittances Cuban Americans can send to their families, stopping U.S. flights to every city but Havana, prohibiting cruise ships from docking in Cuban ports, and adding Cuba to the list of state sponsors of terrorism. Despite candidate Joe Biden’s pledge to “promptly reverse the failed Trump policies that have inflicted harm on the Cuban people and done nothing to advance democracy and human rights,” President Biden has continued Trump’s policy of maximum pressure and promoting “regime change.”
“It is tragic and infuriating to see how President Biden’s policies are hurting millions of Cubans and exacerbating tensions on the island, especially at a time when the country has been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said CODEPINK co founder Medea Benjamin. “Our donation is a sign that many people in the United States reject these aggressive actions and instead want to extend a helping hand to our neighbors.”
“Our donations in no way compensate for the harm caused by the U.S. blockade,” said Manolo de los Santos, executive director of The People’s Forum. “But they show our desire to stop our government from trying to strangle the Cuban economy and make people’s lives miserable. It shows our desire to let the Cuban people determine their own future, free from U.S. interference.” The groups sending the aid are also pressuring the administration and Congress to lift the blockade.