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Confirmation of the WCC's solidarity with the churches and people of Cuba

09 May 2003

Letter to Dr Reinerio Arce, President of the Cuban Council of Churches, 9 May, 2003

Dear Brother Reinerio,

You and other leaders of the Cuban Council of Churches sent me a very careful
and considered reply to my letter of 15 April of this year. I thank you sincerely
for it, as do my colleagues.

I particularly appreciate the honesty and seriousness of your letter. In situations
of conflict it is vitally important to keep open lines of communication based
on mutual trust. In fact, as you yourself point out, truthfulness is an essential element
in our prophetic mission in preaching the gospel, since in situations of conflict
we ourselves can easily be the victims of distorted information and propaganda.

Like you, we too would have welcomed the opportunity for wider consultation
and we shall seriously consider the possibility of a visit to Cuba by an ecumenical
delegation in the near future.

Dear brother, I need hardly stress that the World Council of Churches' history
of solidarity with the people and churches of Cuba cannot be questioned by
anyone with a minimum of information and impartiality. Faithful to this attitude,
we reaffirm our intention to continue supporting you at this time when a
dangerous escalation of tension makes you still more vulnerable. Please be assured
that you are not alone in the struggle for truth and justice.

The detailed analysis you give in your letter of how you see the situation helps
me to understand better why some people have interpreted our initiative as hostile
and indefensible interference, perhaps even influenced by the aggressive media
campaign in the United States.

What we are profoundly concerned about is that the severity of the Cuban
Government's response to the aggressive and provocative rhetoric and actions of
the United States Government could in fact heighten the conflict and undermine
the credibility of the Cuban position. The country would then become still more
vulnerable, in that it seems to be furnishing precisely the "pretexts for unleashing
another war" that you mention in your letter. We believed it would not be
helpful for us to remain silent in such circumstances. This is what prompted us
to write to you and to choose this form of communication, as being open and
inviting dialogue. Similar expressions of concern have also come from international
organizations and personalities, as well as from the governments of countries
which have supported Cuba for decades.

In dialogue with you we shall continue to seek more effective ways of helping
the dearly beloved people of Cuba in the present situation. Obviously, unsolicited,
critical advice from friends outside the country is not always accepted as an
honest expression of solidarity, especially by people who do not know the long
history of commitment which, at least in our case, lies behind it. Yet it is precisely
this willingness to be mutually accountable to one another that is the distinguishing
feature of our precious fellowship within the ecumenical family. It is
in this spirit that, with God's help, we shall continue to walk with you and the
churches in Cuba.

We pray that in these difficult days you may be spiritually strengthened by
the message of the resurrection and the knowledge that no principality or power
can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ.

Sincerely as ever,

Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser
General Secretary

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