Humanitarian Limits

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Limits on Direct Humanitarian Aid & Medical Sales

"...when change comes to the island -- and it will come..."
Michael E. Ranneberger
Coordinator for Cuban Affairs
Friedrich Hayek University, Nov. 17, 1997

Since the Papal visit there have been modifications to the regulations allowing less restricted humanitarian and medical relief.

The Department of Treasury was, until August of 1994, the only place to which families could go to send monetary aid to close relatives still living in Cuba. The aid was not to exceed $300 for every three months. The majority of Cuban could barely meet the most basic needs with this small sum of money from exiled families and humanitarian packages from non-profit organizations. Most of these efforts were achieved through unauthorized channels.

The law for sales of medicines to Cuba was covered in The Cuban Democracy Act of 1992. The statute regulated the sales of medicines to Cuba. It established that there would be no restraints on medicines and medical equipment, as long as the items would be used for their intended purpose, i.e. for the benefit of the Cuban people. The items could not be used for torture, and they could not be re-exported from Cuba. Currently, no medicines, either patented in the U.S. or manufactured in the U.S. can be sold into Cuba. This policy restricts any country from selling US medicines into Cuba.

The Departments of Treasury, Commerce, and State are directed to simplify and oversee these procedures for medical sales. The new procedures are designed to facilitate more rapid handling of license requests. The three Departments stated earlier are identified as points of contact to respond to questions regarding interest in medical sales. Procedures for seeing inappropriate diversions of medicines and medical equipment will be simplified and streamlined. For instance, on-site monitoring can be carried out by groups such as religious institutions, independent non-governmental groups, U.S. and third country diplomats, international organizations, or representatives of the companies making the sales.

Go to Restrictions on US Citizens' Travel

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