AMERICA/UNITED STATES - Bishops' solidarity with the Cuban people: may our countries grow in friendship, justice and peace
Washington (Agenzia Fides) - "As protests continue in Cuba and among the diaspora in the United States, we would like to express our solidarity, as well as that of our brother bishops in the United States, with our brothers in the Cuban episcopate, and with all men and women of goodwill in Cuba. As the Cuban bishops declared in their July 12 statement, ‘A favorable solution will not be reached by impositions, nor by calling for confrontation, but through mutual listening, where common agreements are sought and concrete and tangible steps are taken that contribute, with the contribution of all Cubans without exception, to the building-up of the Fatherland.’ "
This is the statement signed by Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States (USCCB), on the latest events in Cuba. The text, sent to Fides, continues: "In the same spirit as the Cuban bishops, we urge the United States to seek the peace that comes from reconciliation and concord between our Countries. For decades, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in conjunction with the Holy See and the Cuban bishops, has called for robust cultural and commercial engagement between the United States and Cuba as the means to assist the island in achieving greater prosperity and social transformation.
We pray that Our Lady of Charity, our mother, watches over her children in Cuba, and that, together, our countries can grow in friendship in the interests of justice and peace". The US Bishops have always been close to the Cuban people, even expressing their dissent on some actions taken by the US authorities, such as last January: "As President of the USCCB Commission for Justice and International Peace, I would like to express my profound disagreement with Secretary Pompeo’s decision to add Cuba to the list of sponsoring states of terrorism" (see Fides, 14/1/2021).
The Bishops' statement comes at a very delicate moment for Cuba, where the health situation is worsening: the number of coronavirus infections per capita in Cuba is the highest in all of Latin America. The island, which has a population of 11 million, reported nearly four thousand cases last week. There have been 61 deaths in the past 24 hours, for a total of 288,392 positive cases and 1,966 deaths since the first cases of the disease were registered in March 2020, according to the Ministry of Public Health (Minsap). This is nine times higher than the world average. The increase in infections coincides with a precarious health system, further under pressure due to the anti-government protests that recently exploded in the country. International media reports that US President Joe Biden has asked the State Department to review the remittance policy from the United States, to ensure that the money Cuban Americans send home goes directly to their families, without the cuts arranged by the regime, as well as expressing a willingness to work with international organizations to increase humanitarian assistance to Cuba. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 20/7/2021)