Rev. Geoffrey Black joins religious leaders in asking President Obama for normalization of Cuba relations
Rev. Geofrey Black has joined with twenty one national religious leaders to call for President Obama to “take concrete action to pursue a path toward improved relations with Cuba.”
In a letter delivered to the White House on October 21st, church leaders called for increased and direct relations with the Cuban government as well as the lifting of all restrictions of people-to-people travel between Cuba and the U.S. They also called on the Administration to remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terror, citing Cuba's efforts to combat teorrorism and how this designation "undermines opportunities" for the U.S. to work with Cuba on issues such as human rights and freedoms.
“We believe that an improved, more cooperative relationship between our nation and Cuba would benefit Cuban churches and help facilitate progress toward full political freedom and economic opportunity for the Cuban people,” the U.S. Church leaders said.
Click here to view the full letter.
After 50 years, isn't time for the United States to try a different foreign policy towards Cuba?
Pres. Eisenhower imposed economic sanctions on Cuba in 1960, after Fidel Castro's government seized private land, nationalized hundreds of private companies — including several local subsidiaries of U.S. corporations — and taxed American products so heavily that U.S. exports were halved in just two years. Pres. John F. Kennedy issued the permanent embargo on Feb. 7, 1962.
In the last 50 years every U. S. president has sought to bring about change in Havana by imposing, or relaxing, economic or travel restrictions with Cuba. In 2004 Pres. George W. Bush imposed further travel restrictions that severely curtailed the ability of Americans to travel to our island neighbor. The Bush administration also chose not to renew the licenses to travel to Cuba held by a number of religious groups, including the United Church of Christ and the National Council of Churches.
Recently, President Obama lifted some of the travel restrictions for Cuban Americans, and there is a growing expectation that he may issue an executive order that would restore the conditions for travel to what they were under President Clinton, with the emphasis on “people to people exchange,” possibly including religious and academic groups.