Saturday, October 08, 2016

Cuban Diaspora Organizes To Send Aid To Areas Affected By Hurricane Matthew

Cuban Diaspora Organizes To Send Aid To Areas Affected By Hurricane
Matthew / 14ymedio, Mario Penton

14ymedio, Mario Penton, Miami, 7 October 2016 — The devastation caused
by Hurricane Matthew in Baracoa and in the east end of the island has
sparked a movement of solidarity from the Cubans who live in different
parts of the world. Hours after the passage of terrible hurricane,
dozens of people looked for how to send aid to those affected.

The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), based in Miami, will send
humanitarian aid through the opposition group on the island, the
Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU).

Cristina Canales, a member of the board of the CANF, told 14ymedio that
they have been collecting aid for a week.

"From the images that have come out of the affected areas and multiple
comments from Cubans interested in collaborating, we decided to offer
the chance for the community to also send aid through our organization,"
said Canales.

"UNPACU has been posting videos of how to deliver this help. We want to
be very clear as to where the money goes, and for that we will be
posting regular updates on our website. We urge people to help through
our website or to call the foundation's offices," she said.

From Spain, the news aggregator CiberCuba on behalf of one of its
founding members, Luis Manuel Mazorra Fernandez, has posted a petition
on the platform to ask Cuban Customs to eliminate the payment
of fees for sending humanitarian aid to the island.

The action, called "Eliminate tariffs at Customs Cuba for sending
Hurricane Matthew Relief" already has more than 4,100 signatures of the
5,000 needed, explained Mazorra by telephone from Valencia, following a
precedent from 2008.

Cuban Customs levies a fee of about 20 CUC (roughly $20 US) for every
kilogram entering the country.

"We want to use our media power to help the victims. There are many
people who are suspicious about the use of the money. So we want to
promote this petition for Cubans wishing to send food and clothing
without tariffs, and in this way to help their fellow countrymen, "he said.

The platform has also made a collection of money to be sent to Caritas,
which has begun a campaign to help the most impoverished areas of
Guantanamo, along with other non-governmental organizations. But
according to Mazorra, "It is much better, if instead of sending money,
we can send products, because we already know that not much is resolved
in Cuba with money."

"The most important thing is to raise awareness, create noise for the
Cuban government to wake up and react," he said.

The founder of the digital site also referenced the censorship they have
been subjected to in recent weeks by the Cuban government.

"It's unfortunate because we have become one of the 10 most visited
pages of Cuba. It has affected us a lot. In Cuba we had a brutal
audience and maintained a neutral editorial line."

According to Mazorra, what is happening is a brutal campaign against
bloggers and official journalists. "We were accused of being financed by
USAID (US Agency for International Development), a complete lie, because
we have no relationship with any government or foreign agencies. We are
funded with advertising on the site. This is a project of only 20 people
in Spain, Miami and Cuba," he argued.

Source: Cuban Diaspora Organizes To Send Aid To Areas Affected By
Hurricane Matthew / 14ymedio, Mario Penton – Translating Cuba -
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