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      The Council of Churches of Cuba Statement on U.S. President Trump's Cuba Announcement

      1 THE COUNCIL OF CHURCHES OF CUBA, THE LEADING INSTITUTION OF THE CUBAN ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT, is made up of 51 Christian and Protestant Churches and institutions - Protestant, Reformed, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Episcopal and Orthodox - as well as Jews and Yogas, centers of study, information, community service and theological seminaries. Since its foundation in 1941, the Council has proclaimed unity for the service of our people and nation, through the search for love, justice and peace among peoples and nations, which are the most evident evangelical signs of the reign of God among us.

      2 The establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States brought about a new era based on the new policies undertaken during the Obama administration. It had been the dream and struggle of many who also included churches and religions on both sides.

      3 A path of respect and dialogue demonstrated hope to the world that once civilized relations are established bridges can be built and walls torn down. These agreements between both countries, result of the work of many years and of several generations, had and have the support of the wide community of believers at national and global levels.

      4 Today, June 16, President Donald Trump has announced another policy that involves a setback in a path that, although fragile, established clear steps in a strategy of coexistence where everyone could benefit and that promised a future of peace and understanding, not only between the two nations but for the whole region.

      5 This policy, like others of this administration, does not respond to the wishes of the American people, whose visits to the Caribbean nation skyrocketed in 2016 and continues in the current calendar year expressing and confirming their desire to interact with the island.

      6 Cubans and Americans can do much for our region and for humanity. It is not reasonable to enact laws or issue orders that prevent rapprochement and obstruct the will of our peoples. Neither must we, nor can we, oppose the Divine will that these two nations mutually benefit from their religious, cultural, educational, sport and scientific people-to-people exchanges.

      7 This policy indicates a lack of information and knowledge about the Cuban reality: our history, sovereignty and rights, as well as those of the people of the United States. It is divorced from the context of the time we live in today. This policy issues from a one-sided monologue that leads nowhere in the 21st century, when humanity calls for dialogue and the search for civilized solutions. We live in the era of dialogue, of mutual respect and two-way communication, in search for and construction of peace without which humanity will not be able to survive.

      8 We are confident that this backward policy is not the will of the American people or of their churches and religions, which have always advocated peace, dialogue and normalization of relationships. We also know that it is their will that the embargo be removed, as well as that of nations expressed year after year in multiple votes at the United Nations.

      9 We express our gratitude to God and to all his sons and daughters as we continue to seek the lifting of the embargo and the search for solutions through dialogue and peace. Once again we call for unity in prayer, action in the hope of the abundant life to which Christ calls us.

      10 We are members of the World Council of Churches, the Joint Alliance of Churches, the Latin American Council of Churches; in fraternity with the National Council of Churches in the U.S. and Church World Service; and companions in mission with many denominations, foundations, agencies, councils in the United States and throughout the world, which is of God. We are sure that together, with our prayers and actions, we will continue to break down the walls and lift the bridges in our pilgrimage for justice, peace and love.

      12 We are convinced that the present and the future belong to God and in that sense He calls humanity to reconciliation, so that we learn to love and forgive each other. The blockade must be removed, and Cuba and the United States must coexist in peace, respect and dialogue.

      13 May the Incarnate, Risen and Glorified Christ pour out and shower His grace upon Cuba, the United States and all the peoples on Earth, filling us with his blessing and his manifestation to all, guiding us along the paths of dialogue, justice, love and peace.

      Rev. Joel Ortega Dopico
      President of the Council of Churches of Cuba June 16, 2017

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