The Government of Cuba would have asked the US for help after the destruction of Ian, according to ‘The Wall Sreet Journal’

The Biden Administration received an unusual request from the Government of Cuba for emergency assistance after the devastating impact of Hurricane Ian, published The Wall Street Journal.

“An exact amount was not requested” and the US government “was still trying to determine if Havana would complement the request while working to determine the extent of the damage,” the newspaper quoted email communications.

Ian left three dead in western Cuba and an entire country without electricitywhich has caused a wave of protests in several provinces, but above all in the capital, where calls for freedom have been heard and also the mobilization of repressive forces to dissolve the protesters

The request comes as Russia, a longtime supporter of the Cuban regime, struggles with the war in ukraine and international sanctions, while Havana faces its worst economic crisis in three decadesAdd Wall Street Journal.

The relations between Washington and Havana, which deteriorated when former President Donald Trump rolled back the Obama administration’s outreach efforts and declared Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism, have improved slightly under the current administration. However, President Biden has failed to take major steps to normalize relations and has kept the regime on the watch list of state sponsors of terrorism.

However, earlier this year, the Biden Administration promised to eliminate the limit on remittances in dollars that Americans can send to Cuba, reopened air travel to Cuban cities and announced the reestablishment of trips by so-called educational groups, measures that he described as support for the Cuban people.

The emails you had access to Wall Street Journal they suggested that The US continued to engage with Havana to determine how much assistance is neededand the US estimated that Cuban authorities would prioritize hospitals, water pumping facilities, sanitation and other critical infrastructure, if Washington provided the aid.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The White House National Security Council declined to comment. The Cuban government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

If (the Government of) Cuba asks for humanitarian aid and the United States gives it to them, that would be a real advance“said William LeoGrande, an expert on Cuba at the American University in Washington.

On other occasions when Cuba has been hit by hurricanes, The United States has offered humanitarian aid, but the Cuban regime has rejected it. “Fidel’s position was that Cuba would not accept charity from a country that had an economic blockade against it,” says LeoGrande, referring to the late dictator Fidel Castro.

The Cuban request suggests that Russia, which has supported its Cuban ally in past disasters, is not in a position to do so because of the war in Ukraine, LeoGrande said.

When in August a fire in the port of Matanzas destroyed much of Cuba’s most important fuel terminal, Russia, Mexico and Venezuela intervened to help Havana. At that time, the United States offered technical assistance. Cuba’s government said it was grateful for the offer, but the United States said Havana had made no formal request for help.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) finally provided the Cuban Government with 43 firefighting teams and is acquiring additional equipment to ship.

Behind the blackout throughout Cuba Caused by Hurricane Ian, Cubans who took to the streets in parts of Havana and elsewhere have protested the lack of power and have also demanded the resignation of Miguel Díaz-Canel, according to videos posted on social media.

“Everyone is upset,” Camilo Condis, an independent electrical contractor in Havana, was quoted as saying by Wall Street Journal. “The worst thing is the food, which is so hard to come by, and it rots when there is no light.” Condis said he had no power or water supply at her home.

The Cuban regime fears that an unprecedented wave of protests will be repeated in July 2021 when tens of thousands of Cubans took to the streets in dozens of towns and cities on the island demanding the freedom and resignation of Díaz-Canel. The demonstrations were also sparked by prolonged blackouts and deteriorating economic conditions.

In the months after the protests, the regime charged some 930 people with crimes related to the demonstrations and jailed at least 675 people, some with sentences of up to 25 years, according to Cubalex.

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