by Jerry L. Van Marter, Presbyterian News Service
Nineteen religious leaders (including Pax Christi USA Executive Director Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN) sent a letter on Oct. 1st to President Barack Obama urging him to “take concrete action to pursue a path toward improved relations with Cuba.”
The letter, initiated by the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s Office of Public Witness and Church World Service ― expresses gratitude to the president for his 2011 directive that lifted restrictions for religious, academic and licensed people-to-people travel to Cuba. “Since then we have strengthened our relationships with church partners in Cuba,” the religious leaders wrote.
As next steps, the 19 leaders representing a wide range of faith groups, urged:
- direct, high-level dialogue with the Cuban government.
- removal of Cuba from the United States’ list of state sponsors of terrorism.
- lifting of all restrictions on purposeful people-to-people travel between the United States and Cuba.