Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

DEBATE

Libya unrest: National Assembly asks for UN help to dissolve militias

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan's Political Turmoil: Can Imran Khan's PTI Party Depose the Government? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan's Political Turmoil: Can Imran Khan's PTI Party Depose the Government?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

#IceBucketChallenge and hashtag activism

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'The world’s dictators love the unrest in Ferguson'

Read more

ENCORE!

Montreal Stories

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

More than half of French households will pay no income tax this year

Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • Ex-PM Juppé announces bid for 2017 French presidential race

    Read more

  • A new view on Normandy landings, 70 years on

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

  • Deadly airstrikes hit Gaza as ceasefire with Israel collapses

    Read more

  • Tentative peace in Ferguson despite second fatal shooting

    Read more

  • Suspected Ebola cases in Austria, new drug raises hopes

    Read more

  • WWII anniversary highlights best - and worst - of Paris police

    Read more

  • Headscarf at the beach sparks French MEP’s fury

    Read more

  • Iraqi army clashes with militants in Tikrit after retaking key dam

    Read more

  • Video: Life in under-siege Donetsk

    Read more

  • Racism, riots and police violence: USA under scrutiny

    Read more

  • ‘Let it be’: Londoners sick of Abbey Road tourists

    Read more

Skirting embargo, US approves food sales to Cuba

Latest update : 2008-09-17

The US has approved $250 million in “farm sales” to storm-ravaged Cuba, bypassing its trade embargo with the communist nation after Cuba rejected nearly $5 million dollars in US aid.

Bypassing its trade embargo on communist Cuba, the United States on Tuesday announced approving 250 million dollars in "farm sales" to Havana after Hurricanes Gustav and Ike devastated Cuba's crops.
  
The licenses for agricultural sales, which include food and construction materials, were approved after Ike lashed Cuba a week ago and "wood, a material essential to rebuilding, is included," read a State Department communique delivered to reporters at the US Interests Section in Havana.
  
State Department officials in Washington on Monday it regretted that Cuba rejected up to five million dollars in aid for the victims of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. The United States has tense and limited relations with its communist neighbor, which has been under a US embargo for more than four decades.
  
After being hit hard by two hurricanes in less than two weeks, desperate Cuba last week urged Washington to ease its trade embargo to allow US firms to open private lines of credit for food imports to the cash-strapped island of more than 11 million people.
  
The bilateral breakthrough "is more or less what they (the Cubans) are asking for, not credit because our law does not permit it. That will have to be through third parties. The license includes food and wood," a US diplomat in Havana told AFP privately.
  
A Spanish aircraft meanwhile was due in Cuba on Tuesday with 17 tonnes of aid from the World Food Program and another four tonnes from Spain to help those affected by the hurricanes. Other countries, including Brazil, Russia and Ecuador, have also sent humanitarian assistance.
  
Spain also has promised 300,000 euros for rebuilding social infrastructure, 200,000 euros for the Red Cross and another 18,000 via the Pan American Health Organization for the repair of medical centers, according to an official statement.
  
Cuba on Friday said it did not have the resources to recover from the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, including seven dead, 320,000 homes destroyed and extensive damage to crops.
  
Even before the hurricanes hit, Cuba faced major challenges keeping its people fed. Since 2002, the World Food Program has assisted more than 593,000 people per year mainly in Cuba's east, WFP data say.
  
US officials say there have been no significant political changes in Cuba since Washington's longtime and increasingly frail nemesis, Fidel Castro, 82, stepped down as president in February and handed power to his younger brother Raul, 77.
  
But in bilateral commercial ties, things have changed in the past decade.
  
While maintaining its sanctions officially, US President George W. Bush's administration has become a leading supplier of food to Cuba due to an embargo loophole opened after the Caribbean nation was hit by another hurricane, Michelle, in 2001.
  
At the time, the United States offered aid and Cuba turned it down, suggesting instead that it be allowed to purchase food and medicine. The Bush administration agreed on condition the purchases were in cash, opening the way to a surge in US-to-Cuba food trade.

Date created : 2008-09-17

COMMENT(S)