September 06, 2005

Even our "enemies" wanna help

According to Ekklesia, Cuban, Iran, and Venezuela are all practicing good Christian charity.

Last Thursday the Cuban national assembly held a minute's silence for Katrina victims. President Castro has offered to send 1,100 doctors to Houston, Texas, together with 26 tonnes of medical equipment. Cuban churches have also offered to help.

Iran, another "axis of evil" nation, has offered aid through the Red Crescent organisation, a Muslim relief agency. Hamid Reza Asefi, from the Iranian foreign ministry, said that there was genuine concern for the plight of affected communities.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, recently the subject of an assassination call by renegade US evangelist Pat Robertson, also pledged cheap fuel, humanitarian supplies and relief workers.

And Cuba might be able to give us a few pointers on evacuation. During hurricane Ivan in September 2004, 1.5 million Cubans were evacuated.

Although the hurricane destroyed 20,000 houses, only a handful subsequently died. There was a well ordered defence plan, coordinated leadership, no curfew, no looting and no violence.

"Merely sticking people in a stadium is unthinkable", commented Latin America expert Dr Nelson Valdes. "Shelters all have medical personnel... They have family doctors in Cuba, who evacuate together with the neighbourhood, and already know, for example, who needs insulin."

There has been no response from the U.S. government about whether or not we will accept their aid.