Sen. Jesse Helms could hurt or help effort to save Cuban boy
October 26, 1999
From staff and wire reports
MATANZAS, Cuba (CNN) -- The life of a 7-year-old Cuban boy has become the subject of a humanitarian mission of international proportions.
Raudel Medina was stricken in August with a condition diagnosed as portal hypertension, which causes deadly internal bleeding.
Raudel's plight came to the attention of a Baptist church in the United States. The Liberal Baptist Church of North Carolina and an unidentified Cuban-American benefactor have offered to transport Raudel to the United States for life-saving surgery.
But the long-standing rift in political ties between the two nations has gotten in the way of Raudel's much-needed journey. He is having trouble obtaining a visa to travel to the United States.
Ironically the church, which condemns the current U.S. embargo against Cuba, has asked the staunch anti-Castro U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms, R-North Carolina, for help.
Helms has agreed to assist in obtaining an emergency humanitarian visa to the United States for the boy and his mother.
But that might lead to more trouble. There are fears that Helms' involvement could antagonize the Cuban government and hurt Raudel's chances of being allowed to leave Cuba.
"I'm grateful to all the people who've tried to help. I have no words to thank all those who have had this humanitarian gesture," said Idalmis Alfonso de Medina, Raudel's mother.
Correspondent Lucia Newman contributed to this report.
Congress kills plan to allow food and medicine sales to Cuba
Jesse Helms Homepage
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.