There was something changing — on my more recent visits, people have been publicly talking politics in ways they previously would have done only behind closed doors. Yet with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump now threatening to roll back Obama’s strides in U.S.-Cuba relations, it’s hard to say how many Americans will get to meet this Cuba.
U.S. law stipulates that the U.S. embargo cannot be lifted unless both Castros exit power. Raul Castro says he’ll leave office in 2018. What’s the likelihood of any successor being moderate enough for Trump — or willing to let the real estate mogul near the island’s beachfront property and historic Havana hotels?
Following Pope Benedict XVI's recent trip to Cuba, U.S. Catholic bishops are pushing the State Department to lift the 50-year Cuban embargo in order to improve religious liberty and human rights for the Cuban people.
In a Tuesday (April 17) letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, the chairman of the bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, pressed the Obama administration to pursue “purposeful engagement rather than ineffective isolation” with Havana.
Earlier this month, Sojourners board member and former General Secretary of the Reformed Church in America, Wes Granberg-Michaelson, journeyed to Cuba with a delegation of religious leaders from the National Council of Churches.
Their visit culminated in a joint declaration celebrating signs of unity between the U.S. and Cuban churches. Sixteen representatives of U.S. National Council of Churches member communions were in Cuba November 28 through December 2 meeting with Cuban church and political leaders, including President Raúl Castro.
The delegation, which Cuban church leaders said was the highest ranking U.S. church group to visit the island in their memory, was led by the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, NCC general secretary. The joint statement by the churches declared that normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba would be in the best interest of both nations, and the leaders called for the resolution of three humanitarian issues “which cause unjustifiable human misunderstanding and suffering.” Foremost among the issues is the 53-year-old U.S. economic embargo of Cuba that dates back to the administration of President John F. Kennedy.
Read a series of dispatches from Granberg-Michaelson inside God's Politics.