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Statement from WCC-CCC-CLAI on US-Cuba relations

Statement from Cuban Council of Churches, the Latin American Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches USA, and the WCC urging normalization of Cuba-USA relations.

09 April 2015

“God shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Micah 4:3).

We leaders and representatives of the Cuban Council of Churches, the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI), the National Council of Churches USA, and the World Council of Churches, gathered in Havana for the Assembly of Study of the Cuban Council of Churches, April 7-8, 2015, take this opportunity to speak together a word of thanks, appreciation, and encouragement for the ongoing negotiations of the governments of Cuba and the United States of America to normalize relations.

Recognizing Presidents Castro and Obama will meet this week at the Summit of the Americas in Panama, we urge them to break bread together and to have conversations in a spirit of mutual respect and equality that will accelerate the process of normalization. We recognize there are details that must be addressed, but we emphasize it is of the highest importance that progress continue and that the Presidents remain in communication and personally involved in the discussions.

We commit ourselves to continuing to bring together members of our churches and councils and citizens of our nations to promote reconciliation after the many years of estrangement. We have long supported normalization of relations, and gratified to observe that understanding, affection and love are growing daily between our peoples.

We further commit to continuing our advocacy to encourage the United States of America to remove Cuba from the list of nations sponsoring terrorism, and to terminate the embargo that has created so much suffering in Cuba.

There must be no turning back from the process of negotiation and diplomacy. In this season of Pentecost, we feel the Holy Spirit at work and know that God desires peace between Cuba and the United States.

Signatories of the statement:

Rev. Joel Ortega Dopico, President of the Cuban Council of Churches
Rev. Jim Winkler, general secretary of the National Council of Christian Churches of the USA
Rev. Felipe Adolf, President of the Latin American Council of Churches
Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, WCC representative to the United Nations