WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- A U.S. hurricane-damage assessment team set to visit Havana to help the Cuban government will be staying home.
The State Department blames the government of Fidel Castro, saying Cuba wanted the experts to participate in talks on regional disaster recovery, the Miami Herald reported.
"The assessment team offer remains on the table, but we are unwilling to turn a humanitarian mission into a political dialogue on issues not related to providing relief to the Cuban victims of Hurricane Wilma," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement.
Hurricane Wilma -- which also caused massive destruction in Jamaica, Haiti, the Yucatan Peninsula and South Florida -- brought massive flooding to Havana and the province of Pinar del Rio. The State Department says the government will donate $100,000 to organizations involved in recovery efforts in Cuba.
Earlier in the hurricane season, Cuba rejected $50,000 from the United States after Hurricane Dennis, and the United States turned down a Cuban offer to send 1,600 doctors and nurses to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.