Miami-based Cuban Association of Malta reaches out to Cuba's elderly
Published: July 17, 2012
MIAMI (CNS) -- The economic downturn that has been a hardship for Americans has had a greater impact on the elderly in Cuba, who increasingly struggle to fend for themselves, according to members of a Miami-based charitable foundation. "It is a well-known fact that the people in Cuba have been suffering extreme poverty as part of their daily living for decades, and the conditions are currently worse than ever," said Fernando Garcia-Chacon, a Coral Gables resident and president of the Cuban Association of the Order of Malta, which supports mission projects and charitable outreach in several Caribbean and Central American countries as well as in Miami. The association provides some financial aid to a church network of 60 parish-based soup kitchens across Cuba, along with several health clinics and religious education and seminary programs. But local fundraising to support these programs has been challenged because of the global financial crisis. Financial hardship in the Miami area translates into worse hardship in Cuba, where many depend on cash remittances from family abroad to help making ends meet. Cubans with no such outside help are finding it hard to put food on the table with Cuba's local economy in stagnation. "People with relatives in Cuba know these facts and they want to give something back to these poor communities," said Garcia-Chacon, born and raised in Havana, whose family founded a small town named Santa Maria del Rosario in the outskirts of Havana. They also were active members of the Knights of Malta for many generations.
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