Obama: Lift Cuba Restrictions To Aid Gustav Victims

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N367247 03: (MAGAZINES OUT) A baby is hoisted in the air as an act of celebration by a group of Cubans May 5,1980 at an Airforce Base in Florida April 6, 2000. Known as the Mariel refugees, the group arrived in Key West after traveling by boat from Cuba. It is the 20th anniversary of the historic Mariel boat lift, which brought over 100,000 Cubans into the United States. (Photo by Tim Chapman/Miami Herald)

Sen. Barack Obama today called on President Bush to lift U.S. travel for and other restrictions on family remittances, visits and humanitarian care packages to Cuba because of damage to the island country for 90 days because of Hurrican Gustav. 

“I wish to express my deepest sympathies for those affected by Hurricane Gustav, particularly the untold number affected in Cuba, who face the daunting task of reconstructing their lives with the weight of the failed Castro regime on their shoulders,” said Obama in a statement. 

“This is a time when the Cuban people – not (Fidel) Castro – need and deserve American compassion and assistance. Make no mistake – the embargo must remain, and I strongly oppose any aid to the Castro regime,” said Obama. 

“The Cuban American community stands ready to directly assist their family members in this time of need. A failed Bush administration policy, however, stands in the way of moral and necessary aid,” he added. 

Raul Martinez, the former Hialeah mayor now running for Congress as a Democrat against Miami-area incumbent Republican Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, also called for a temporary suspension of the restrictions in a separate statement, because of the damage in Cuba from Hurricane Gustav is heavy and Cubans need help. 

— Billy House

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