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An Open Letter to President Obama on US, Cuba Relations

May 12, 2014

Espanhol

May 7, 2014

President Barak Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C.  20500

Dear Mr. President:

As religious leaders in the United States, we are writing to you to express our hope that you will take bold executive action to improve the relationship between our nation and Cuba.

We welcome the changes to U.S.-Cuba policy that your administration made in 2011. And late last year we were delighted to hear you call for an update in U.S.-Cuba policy. You stated that we must continue to be thoughtful and creative in our approach to Cuba.

However, Mr. President, we have since been disappointed with the pace of change in U.S. policy. This issue has become more urgent with the recent hunger strike by imprisoned USAID contractor Alan Gross to highlight his plight and to urge high-level action by your administration to secure his release. With the support of our Cuban church partners, and in recognition of the vulnerable situation of Mr. Gross, we call upon you to enter into immediate good-faith discussions with the Cuban government at the highest levels. These discussions must take into consideration the concerns of the Cubans about U.S. policy, including the imprisonment of the remaining three members of the Cuban Five.

In addition, we firmly believe that programs such as the ZunZuneo (Cuban "twitter") project are ineffective and misguided. Our faith partners in Cuba consistently tell us that positive engagement with the Cuban government is much more helpful to them and their congregations than covert actions.

The need for bold action to update our policy was underscored for us during a recent visit here in Washington, DC by six Cuban church leaders. For many years, U.S. and Cuban churches have worked with one another toward common goals. Our relationships have been strengthened as religious freedom in Cuba has improved and church membership has grown. Thus, we join our Cuban counterparts in urging your Administration to take major new steps toward pursuing a policy of engagement and normalization. Such a policy shift will benefit the churches and civil society in Cuba, in addition to going a long way in achieving the release of Alan Gross.

We urge you to:

Open up a high level dialogue between the United States and Cuba to address a wide range of issues, including the issue of Alan Gross and the Cuban Five.

Issue a general license to permit people-to-people travel in all categories.

Remove Cuba from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, an unnecessary irritant in an already tense relationship which undermines the credibility of the list itself and harms our relations with the rest of the Western Hemisphere.

Open the opportunity for U.S. citizens to support the emerging small business and cooperative sector in Cuba by permitting U.S. citizens to buy from, sell to, or provide investment or technical assistance to Cuban small businesses and cooperatives.

We pray for the full normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, while understanding that a Congressional vote to end the embargo is not likely in the near future. In the meantime we believe that these steps will benefit both the U.S. and Cuban peoples. We urge you to seize this moment of opportunity to improve relations between the United States and Cuba.

Rev. Paula Clayton Dempsey - Director of Partnership Relations Alliance of Baptists

Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley - General Secretary American Baptist Churches USA

Shan Cretin General - Secretary American Friends Service Committee

Dr. Sharon E. Watkins - General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada

Rev. Joel Boot - Executive Director, Christian Reformed Church in North America

Stanley J. Noffsinger - General Secretary Church of the Brethren

Rev. John McCullough - President and CEO Church World Service

Very Rev. John Edmunds - ST President, Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Elizabeth A. Eaton - Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Diane Randall - Executive Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation

The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth D. Miller -  President, Provincial Elders’ Conference Moravian Church Northern Province

Very Rev William Antone - OMI Missionary Oblates USP

Jim Winkler - General Secretary and President, National Council of Churches, USA

Rev. Gradye Parsons - Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (USA)

Rev. Geoffrey A. Black - General Minister and President, United Church of Christ

Bishop Rosemarie Wenner - President of the Council of Bishops, The United Methodist Church


 07 de mayo, 2014


Presidente Barack Obama
La Casa Blanca
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Estimado Sr. Presidente:

Como líderes religiosos en los Estados Unidos, nos dirigimos a Usted para expresarle nuestra esperanza de que tomará acción ejecutiva audaz para mejorar la relación entre nuestro país y Cuba.

Damos la bienvenida a los cambios en la política estadounidense hacia Cuba que su administración hizo en 2011. Y a fines del año pasado estuvimos encantados de escuchar su llamado para una actualización de la política estadounidense hacia Cuba. Usted ha declarado que debemos continuar siendo reflexivos y creativos en nuestro acercamiento a Cuba.

Sin embargo, señor Presidente, desde entonces hemos sido decepcionados con el ritmo de cambio en la política de EE.UU. Esta situación se ha vuelto más urgente aun con la reciente huelga de hambre del contratista de USAID Alan Gross para resaltar su situación y pedir acción de alto nivel de su Administración para lograr su liberación. Con el apoyo de nuestros socios en la iglesia cubana, y en reconocimiento de la delicada situación del Sr. Gross, hacemos un llamado a usted para mantener conversaciones inmediatas y de buena fe con el gobierno cubano en los más altos niveles. Estas discusiones deben tener en consideración las preocupaciones de los cubanos sobre la política de EE.UU, incluyendo el encarcelamiento de los restantes tres miembros de Los Cinco.

Además, estamos convencidos de que programas como el proyecto ZunZuneo son  ineficaces y equivocados. Nuestros socios en la fe en Cuba constantemente nos dicen que el compromiso constructivo con el gobierno cubano es mucho más útil para ellos y sus congregaciones que acciones encubiertas.

La necesidad de tomar medidas audaces para actualizar nuestra política exterior fue subrayada a nosotros durante una reciente visita aquí en Washington, DC por seis líderes de las iglesias cubanas. Durante muchos años, las iglesias estadounidenses y cubanas han trabajado juntas para lograr metas comunes. Nuestras relaciones se han fortalecido al tiempo que la libertad religiosa en Cuba ha mejorado y la membresía de las iglesias ha crecido. Por lo tanto, nos unimos a nuestros homólogos cubanos para urgir a su Administración a tomar nuevos e importantes pasos hacia la búsqueda de una política de compromiso y la normalización. Tal cambio de política beneficiará a las iglesias y la sociedad civil la sociedad en Cuba, además de ir un largo camino para lograr la liberación de Alan Gross.

Le instamos a que:

• Abra un diálogo de alto nivel entre Estados Unidos y Cuba para abordar una amplia
gama de temas, incluyendo el tema de Alan Gross y los Cinco Cubanos.
• Emita una licencia general (permiso) para permitir el viaje gente-a-gente en todas las categorías (a ciudadanos norteamericanos a Cuba).
• Retire Cuba de la lista de estados patrocinadores del terrorismo, una irritante e innecesaria medida en una relación ya tensa que socava la credibilidad de la propia lista y los daños nuestras relaciones con el resto del Hemisferio Occidental.
• Abrir la posibilidad a los ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos para apoyar a las pequeñas empresas emergentes y sector de las cooperativas en Cuba, al permitir a los ciudadanos estadounidenses comprar, vender, o proveer inversión o asistencia técnica a las pequeñas empresas y las cooperativas cubanas.

Oramos por la plena normalización de las relaciones entre Estados Unidos y Cuba, a la vez que entendeos que una votación del Congreso para poner fin al embargo no es probable en un futuro próximo. En el mientras tanto, creemos que estas medidas beneficiarán a los pueblos estadounidenses y cubanos. Le instamos a aprovechar este momento de oportunidad para mejorar las relaciones entre Estados Unidos y Cuba.

Rev. Paula Clayton Dempsey - Director of Partnership Relations Alliance of Baptists

Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley - General Secretary American Baptist Churches USA

Shan Cretin General - Secretary American Friends Service Committee

Dr. Sharon E. Watkins - General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada

Rev. Joel Boot - Executive Director, Christian Reformed Church in North America

Stanley J. Noffsinger - General Secretary Church of the Brethren

Rev. John McCullough - President and CEO Church World Service

Very Rev. John Edmunds - ST President, Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Elizabeth A. Eaton - Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Diane Randall - Executive Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation

The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth D. Miller -  President, Provincial Elders’ Conference Moravian Church Northern Province

Very Rev William Antone - OMI Missionary Oblates USP

Jim Winkler - General Secretary and President, National Council of Churches, USA

Rev. Gradye Parsons - Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (USA)

Rev. Geoffrey A. Black - General Minister and President, United Church of Christ

Bishop Rosemarie Wenner - President of the Council of Bishops, The United Methodist Church


 

 

 

 



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