Letter to Helen Clark

from Wellington Cuba Friendship Society



Wellington    Cuba



     P O Box 6040


8 September 2008


Rt Hon Helen Clark

Prime Minister and Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs

Parliament Buildings



Dear Prime Minister


We are writing to you in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav which has devastated parts of the Caribbean including the Cuban region of the Isle of Youth.


We write to urge the New Zealand Government to make contact with the representative of Cuba in New Zealand to ascertain what help New Zealand can provide to Cuba following this devastation.  Cuba reports that it has received offers of solidarity and support from many countries but, to date, this does not seem to include New Zealand.

See:  Many displays of solidarity and support for Cuba

In 2004, following hurricanes Ivan, Charley and Georges, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs described Cuba as a Model on Hurricane Risk Management.  See Cuba:  A Model in Hurricane Risk Management


It seems that Cuba has again lived up to this model in the recent Hurricane Gustav.  Although Cuba bore the brunt of the Hurricane it suffered no loss of life.  See:  The real record is no loss of life and U.N. Reports

News agencies such as Reuters reported on the effective way that Cuba was able to protect its citizens. 

See:  Gustav lashes Cuba on way to monster storm in Gulf

Fidel Castro has also written on the devastation of the Hurricane, comparing it to a nuclear attack. 

See: A Nuclear Strike


However the devastation in Cuba is immense and the ability of Cuba to respond to this devastation is made more difficult by the illegal trade blockade of its nearest neighbour the United States of America.  While we are pleased to see New Zealand continue to oppose the illegal trade blockade of Cuba at a United Nations level, we are concerned that it appears that New Zealand does not seem to have offered either solidarity or practical support to Cuba at this time of need.


We request that you ask your officials to immediately contact the Cuban representative in New Zealand and offer such support at the earliest opportunity.  While writing this letter we are aware that Hurricane Ike is heading for Cuba with the possibility of creating even more devastation.  We would be grateful if you could inform us of what action the New Zealand Government has taken on this matter.


Yours faithfully

Gillian Magee


Wellington Cuba Friendship Society