Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Barbara Lee (D-CA), Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, and Jim McGovern (D-MA), Chair of the Rules Committee, issued the following statement urging the Biden Administration to provide U.S. assistance following the devastating fires in Matanzas, Cuba.

“We are deeply concerned about the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Matanzas, Cuba, less than 150 miles from our border. Crises such as this demand an urgent and meaningful response from neighboring countries. 

“Today, we call on the Biden Administration to immediately offer the appropriate assistance to facilitate international response efforts following explosions at the Supertanker Base in Matanzas.  We also urge the Administration to suspend any relevant sanctions in order to expedite such a response, and to deliver much-needed humanitarian relief to the hundreds of Cuban citizens affected by this crisis, as well as the many more facing multiple and cascading crises in Cuba, including shortages of food, energy, and medicine. 

“We fear that the significant recovery efforts needed in Matanzas will push an already resource-strapped Cuba closer to the brink. Now is the time to put politics aside and prioritize humanitarian engagement, environmental protection, and regional cooperation.”