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Response to the final document of the Cuban Pastoral Forum

25 June 2005

Letter to the Cuban Council of Churches, WCC member churches and ecumenical bodies
in Cuba, 25 June, 2004

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

"To all you who are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our
Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph. 1:1).

With this letter I would like to thank you for sending the World Council of
Churches a copy of the final document of the Cuban Pastoral Forum held on 21
May this year, which we have read carefully.

We are again delighted to note the vitality of the ecumenical movement in
Cuba which brought together pastors and lay people from 31 churches and ecumenical
institutions to study what is happening in the country, from the standpoint
of the Christian faith.

We consider that the document reflects a theology deeply rooted in the Bible
which rejects all actions that curtail or deny the "fullness of life" (John 10:10)
that Jesus brought to all men and women, and which also reaffirms the church's
mission of reconciliation. This dimension is particularly highlighted in the context
of the "Decade to overcome violence: churches seeking reconciliation and peace" to
which the WCC is deeply committed.

We find your urgent appeal for Latin American and Caribbean integration very
moving, with its references to the legacy of heroes of your continent, most notably
José Marti. As you point out, processes of regional integration are essential in
order to tackle the inroads of the globalization affecting the contemporary world,
which has had serious consequences for the peoples of the South.

We are concerned about the raft of measures approved by the President of the
United States, George W. Bush, responding to recommendations from the
"Committee for Aid to a free Cuba", which he himself convened in October last
year, calling for the strengthening of the heavy blockade that the United States
has been enforcing against Cuba for four decades. As you rightly say in your statement,
these measures have a harmful effect on families in Cuba, especially those
coping with the greatest difficulties. Through you, may we express our solidarity
to the people of Cuba in face of these measures.

We are perturbed that these measures are part of the United States' unilateral
international policy which is also evident in other domains. We have repeatedly
questioned this policy, particularly in relation to the war in Iraq, which we do
not hesitate to designate as immoral and illegal. We hope to be able to continue
exercising a prophetic mission in this respect, along with our sister churches in
that country.

Please be assured that in this difficult time for Cuba you have our prayers and
support. The churches and people of Cuba are in our thoughts and prayers, and
our ecumenical action. In response to the invitation I have received from the Cuban
Council of Churches and our member churches, I hope to be able to visit your
country next year. Moreover, as you know, other colleagues in the WCC, in collaboration
with representatives of churches and ecumenical organizations in Cuba,
are preparing an ecumenical team visit to find out more about the situation in
Cuba and the churches' work there, to encourage their prophetic ministry and
strengthen the ties of ecumenical fellowship.

I close, again with the words of the Apostle Paul, and commend to God the
churches and all the people of Cuba: "Peace be to the whole community, and love
with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph. 6:23).
May the blessing of God remain always with the churches and people of Cuba.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General Secretary