BIPARTISAN LETTER: Urge Pres. Trump to Let Cuba Rebuild from Irma

Sep 15, 2017 by

From Art Heitzer:

Please see and try to contact your member of Congress (as of this point, members of the House), to urge them to sign on to the Bi-Partisan letter to allow Cubans to buy U.S. reconstruction supplies in the wake of the historic devastation by Hurricane Irma.

We are hoping for many members to sign, and especially encourage you to contact GOP reps. you might have, and/or possibly businesses which could benefit from and support this appeal, for them to contact Congressional representatives “beyond the usual suspects” on Cuba matters.
[Note that this is the result of substantial input from NLG members and friends.]

BIPARTISAN LETTER: Urge Pres. Trump to Let Cuba Rebuild from Irma

Sending Office: Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
Sent By: Erik.Sperling@mail.house.gov

Urge Pres. Trump to Let Cuba Rebuild from Irma

Sign urgent letter requesting changes to allow Cubans to purchase reconstruction and relief supplies and provide a boon to U.S. business

Deadline Tuesday, Sept. 19, COB

 

Current signers (7):  Conyers, Crawford, Lee, Emmer, Castor, Welch, McGovern

Endorsed by: National Foreign Trade Council,  Engage Cuba, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), Latin America Working Group (LAWG)

 

Dear Colleague,

We write to request your support for a letter to call on President Trump to remove restrictions on the ability of United States companies to export relief and reconstruction supplies to Cuba, even if only for a temporary time during the rebuilding period.  This is an action he can take unilaterally without needing approval from Congress. Currently, the Cubans are not allowed to purchase supplies from the U.S. to rebuild schools, hospitals, or other important infrastructure. This regulatory change would not cost Americans a dime, and to the contrary, would result in significant sales from U.S. companies to Cuba.

Cuba absorbed much of the impact from Hurricane Irma which lessened the damage to southern Florida and the United States. Ten people perished and billions of dollars’ in damage was done to already weak infrastructure and housing, in what was the strongest hurricane to hit Cuba in 85 years.

Even before Hurricane Irma devastated Cuba, 90 percent of Americans polled agree that we should further develop business ties with Cuba. The United States business community has shown interest in providing needed supplies to Cuba in the past, and companies like Home Depot and Caterpillar have indicated that their products are needed in Cuba. This change would not only give the Cuban people access to needed U.S.-made products, but it would also be a boon to companies in America who provide good manufacturing jobs.  At this difficult time, denying the Cuban people access to the highest quality construction, medical, and other crucial supplies would be cruel and counterproductive.

To add your Representative, or if you have any questions, please contact Erik.Sperling@mail.house.gov in Rep. Conyers’ office (5-5126) or Ashley.Shelton@mail.house.gov in Rep. Crawford’s office (5-4076).

 

Sincerely,

John Conyers, Jr.              Rick Crawford                    Barbara Lee                        Tom Emmer

Member of Congress     Member of Congress     Member of Congress     Member of Congress

 

LETTER TEXT:

Dear President Trump,

We are extremely saddened by the loss of life and destruction in the Caribbean from Hurricane Irma. Cuba was particularly hard hit: ten people perished and billions of dollars’ in damage was done to their already weak infrastructure and housing, in what was the strongest hurricane to hit Cuba in 85 years. Cuba absorbed much of Irma’s force, lessening the storm’s impact on southern Florida and the United States. Historical grievances should be put aside during a humanitarian crisis like this – the people of Cuba need urgent support to rebuild.

Fortunately, there is a simple change you can make that would provide necessary support to the Cuban people while at the same time helping U.S. businesses: remove restrictions on the ability of U.S. companies to export needed relief and reconstruction supplies to the Cuban government and its people. Although current Treasury Department embargo regulations authorize U.S. companies to provide services related to infrastructure in Cuba (31 CFR 515.591), Commerce Department export regulations require that U.S. exports to support the provision of such services be approved on a case-by-case basis.  (15 CFR 746.2) Obama administration regulations specifically licensed only the sale of tools and construction materials to private entities, servicing only privately-owned buildings, thus excluding public facilities such as schools and hospitals. At this critical time, we should relax these restrictions to allow other appropriate entities in Cuba to purchase needed relief and reconstruction supplies and equipment, even if only temporarily during the rebuilding period.

Companies like Caterpillar and Home Depot, a founding member of the U.S.-Cuba Business Council, have shown interest in providing needed supplies to Cuba in the past. Bill Lane, senior director of global government and corporate affairs for Caterpillar, has said that “Everything Caterpillar makes in the United States is needed in Cuba.” Making this regulatory change would not only help the Cuban people rebuild, but would provide a boon to companies in America who provide good manufacturing jobs to our people.

This change would not be controversial. Even before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba,  90 percent of Americans supported increasing U.S. business engagement with Cuba. At this difficult time for the Cuban people, denying them the ability to purchase high quality, American-made construction, medical, and other crucial supplies is cruel and counterproductive.  We urge you to take action without further delay. 

Thank you kindly for your consideration. We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

[Members of Congress]

 

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