Washington offers aid to hurricane-blasted Cuba

LA PALMA, Cuba (AP) -- The U.S. is offering Cuba $100,000 in emergency aid for the victims of Hurricane Gustav.

But, the U.S. Interests Section in Havana says Washington is willing to send far more if a U.S.-approved disaster assessment team is allowed to tour the hardest-hit areas.

Spokesman Gregory Adams says the aid would be provided through international relief organizations rather than through direct, government-to-government aid. He says the offer does not represent a shift in policy, but rather "a response to a humanitarian emergency."

Gustav damaged 100,000 homes and Fidel Castro wrote this week that the total damage could be billions of dollars.

Russian planes have flown supplies to Havana and several Latin American countries have pledged help. But Cuba has not commented on the U.S. offer.

Three years ago after Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. turned down Cuba's offer to send doctors to Louisiana.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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