Solidarity with the Church and the Cuban people, and asking the US government to strengthen the friendship between the two countries “in the interest of justice and peace.” This is what the bishops of the United States have expressed. Meanwhile, protests against the economic crisis and hunger continue in Cuba.
The crisis on the Caribbean island has been exacerbated by Covid-19. Protests also continued among the Cubans in the diaspora. The Havana regime responded to the protests by arresting several people, including representatives of the Catholic Church.
Archbishop Jose H. Gómez of Los Angeles, President of the United States Catholic Bishops Conference (USCCB), and Bishop David J. Malloy, chair of the Commission for the Advancement of Human Rights, signed a declaration. She says protests are not a solution to problems. Malloy is also the chair of the Episcopal Commission for International Justice and Peace of the USA office.
Looking for a positive solution
In the message, the bishops join the call made by the Cuban bishops on July 12 to search for a “positive solution” to the crisis, which can be achieved “not by calling for confrontation” but by “listening to each other” in order to “build the nation” with all and in the interest of all. ” In the same spirit, “the Conference of Bishops calls on the United States to strive for peace with Cuba “which stems from reconciliation and unity between the two countries.” The bishops recall that the United States Bishops Conference, along with the Holy See and Cuban bishops, has pushed for decades for “cultural engagement” and strong commerce between the United States and Cuba as a means to increase the island’s prosperity and social transformation.”
US embargo eased
US bishops have repeatedly called for the relaxation of the US embargo on Cuba and support for the détente initiated by the Obama administration in 2014, which President Trump subsequently reversed. With that in mind, last January they expressed their “deep dissatisfaction” with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to add the Latin American country to the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
The protests in Cuba come at a critical time amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has brought the island’s health system to its knees. The number of infections per capita is the highest in Latin America, and health structures are collapsing, Caritas International has reported in recent days. In fact, there is a shortage of medicines and medical equipment in the country, health workers have been under severe and prolonged stress for several months, and the hospital infrastructure is in very poor condition. Add to this the severe economic crisis that has brought the island to the brink of starvation and pushed the population to the streets.
(Vaticanose – mg)