This has been a busy week for Bishop Oscar Cantú, who is Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace. Just yesterday, I posted his statement on the torture report. Today, we have his statement (included below for your reference) on the release of American Alan Gross from Cuba and the shift in the Administrations policy toward that country. Bishop Cantú’s statement shows the strong recommendations of the USCCB to encourage both countries to work together on behalf of those who have suffered in Cuba.
This morning, Pope Francis congratulated both the US and Cuba on this move to resume diplomatic relations. It seems clear that the Holy Father was working behind the scenes towards this development.
Let us pray that “constructive dialogue” will continue towards the end of empowering the people of Cuba to find lasting liberty in their country.
STATEMENT ON RELEASE OF ALAN GROSS AND
THE CHANGE IN U.S. POLICY TOWARD CUBA
Most Reverend Oscar Cantú
Chairman, Committee on International Justice and Peace
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
December 17, 2014
We share the joy of the family of Alan Gross and of all Americans upon hearing the news of his release from over five years of custody in Cuba, as well as the humanitarian release of other prisoners. We are also encouraged by today’s announcement by the Administration of important actions that will foster dialogue, reconciliation, trade, cooperation and contact between our respective nations and citizens.
Our Conference has long held that universal human rights will be strengthened through more engagement between the Cuban and American people. For decades, the USCCB has called for the restoration of diplomatic relations between our nations. We strongly support the review of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.
We believe it is long past due that the United States establish full diplomatic relations with Cuba, withdraw all restrictions on travel to Cuba, rescind terrorist designations aimed at Cuba, encourage trade that will benefit both nations, lift restrictions on business and financial transactions, and facilitate cooperation in the areas of environmental protection, drug interdiction, human trafficking and scientific exchanges. Engagement is the path to support change in Cuba and to empower the Cuban people in their quest for democracy, human rights and religious liberty.
For more information, see this page on the USCCB website: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/latin-america-caribbean/cuba/
La Virgen de la Caridad, Our Lady of Charity, pray for us!