WASHINGTON - September 13 - Green Party leaders called on the Bush Administration to welcome Cuba's offer to send 1500 fully-equipped and experienced doctors into the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast region.
"It is unconscionable that the federal government would refuse this offer of assistance to thousands of victims of Katrina, many of whom are still suffering from lack of medical attention," said Tony Gronowicz, Green candidate for mayor of New York City and member of the Green Party's International Committee. "Before he was removed, FEMA chief Michael Brown claimed that he would not turn down any offer of assistance. Why is the White House denying entry visas to hundreds of trained doctors, all packed and ready to save lives in Louisina and Mississippi?"
The Green Party has strongly opposed the U.S. government's Cold War policy against Cuba and has called for an end to the embargo and hostilities against the Castro government. Green leaders called the Katrina emergency an ideal opportunity to overhaul Cuba policy, normalize diplomatic relations, and repeal the ban on travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens.
"The anti-Cuba policy is absurd and hypocritical," said Michael Canney, Florida Green and member of Cuba Vive of Florida, Pastors for Peace, the Venceremos Brigade, and Gainesville Cuba Friendship Network. "While blocking the Cuban doctors, Bush's Homeland Security Department is coddling known terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. Furthermore, five young Cubans, whose only crime was to gather information about terrorists in Miami, remain confined in federal prisons even after their wrongful convictions were overturned by the 11th District Court of Appeals."
Greens, in accord with the Organization of American States (OAS), have demanded Luis Posada Carriles' deportation or extradition to Venezuela to stand trial for his involvement in the 1976 mid-air bombing of a Cuban passenger plane that killed all 73 people aboard, and have called for the immediate release of the Cuban Five from federal prisons pending a new trial.