WASHINGTON (June 9, 1997) -- Transportation costs for the delivery of humanitarian aid to Cuba have skyrocketed following the prohibition on direct flights from the United States to Cuba nearly 18 months ago, and two U.S. Bishops are urging President Clinton to lift the suspension.
In a letter Friday, the two prelates informed President Clinton that "the suspension of direct flights has had nothing but harmful consequences for both the authorized providers of such aid and the intended recipients."
The letter was signed by Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick of Newark, who chairs the U.S. Catholic Conference's International Policy Committee, and by Bishop John H. Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Catholic Relief Services.
"The relatively modest program of helping people in need in Cuba, fully authorized and indeed encouraged by our government, has been unfortunately and, we believe, unnecessarily burdened by the excessive costs involved in shipping through third countries," the bishops told the President. "This is a burden which should be lifted and we appeal to you, Mr. President, to do so."