President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500
July 28, 2021
Dear President Biden:
While there has been much attention paid to the unprecedented social protests that erupted in
Cuba in the last weeks, there has been far less attention paid to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in
Cuba that was one of the drivers of the protests.
As news reports and studies have made clear, Cuba is currently facing severe shortages of basic
medicines, syringes for vaccination, food, and other vital materials as they battle COVID-19.
These shortages are causing needless suffering and deaths.
We are writing to urge you to put saving Cuban lives ahead of all other priorities by
suspending U.S. regulations that endanger the lives of Cuban people by preventing
humanitarian aid from reaching Cuba.
In making this request, we do not wish to minimize the political significance of either the
protests themselves nor of this moment for Cubans and Cuban-Americans.
However, we believe that at this moment of acute global danger, U.S. policy towards Cuba
should be governed by one overriding principle, irrespective of political considerations: that we
should do everything possible to ensure the health and well-being of the Cuban people by
removing all obstacles to the flow of vital medical aid and food.
While Cuba’s economic crisis has been caused by numerous factors, U.S. sanctions are clearly
contributing to the worsening humanitarian situation the island is facing, and your administration
should take the necessary steps to alleviate the suffering of the Cuban people.
Specifically, we urge you to:
1) Lift all restrictions and caps of family and donative remittances that could help Cubans
purchase food and medicine on the island;
2) Remove the requirement for specific licenses to send medical supplies to Cuba and the
“end-use verification” requirement for humanitarian imports, both of which vastly increase the
red tape in sending aid to the island from the U.S., and which discourage both donors and sellers;
3) Lift all restrictions on banking and financial transactions related to humanitarian aid as well as
restrictions on the percentage of U.S.-made material used in foreign- produced medical supplies
that inhibit the purchase or distribution of humanitarian aid internationally.
We hope your administration can act on this request urgently.
Caribbean Agroecology Institute
Center for an Urban Future
Center for Democracy in the Americas
Christopher Reynolds Foundation
Cuba Educational Travel
Environmental Defense Fund
Foundation for a Civil Society
Friends of Havana eV
Fund for Reconciliation and Development
Global Health Partners
Havana Preservation Initiative
Project Por Amor
The Marti Project
The Nature of Cities
Academics and policy experts signing in an individual capacity:
Anthony M. Tung (New School)*
Belmont Freeman (Architect)*
Ben Rodriguez-Cubeñas (Rockefeller Brothers Fund)*
Carlos Fernandez-Aballi (Entrepreneur)*
Carlos Pomares (Essex County Board of Commissioners)*
Carlos Rodriguez (Pratt Institute)*
Claudia Castillo (Pratt Institute)*
David Burney (Pratt Institute)*
Debra Andreades (Urban Planner)*
Esther da Costa Meyer (Princeton University)*
Gabriel Vignoli (New School)*
Jill Hamberg (Pratt Institute)*
John Kirk (Dalhousie University)*
Katrin Hansing (Baruch College, City University New York)*
Michael Cohen (New School)*
Peter Orris (University of Illinois, School of Public Health)*
Ron Shiffman (Pratt Institute)*
Rosa Lowinger (Conservator) *
*Institutions and affiliations included for identification purposes only