Bishop Pates Joins Cuban Bishops’ Appeal for End to U.S. Embargo

September 26, 2013 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—Because "engagement will do more than isolationto advance human rights and alleviate human suffering," the chairman of theU.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace reiterated a call tolift the U.S. embargo against Cuba. In a September 26 letter to NationalSecurity Adviser Susan E. Rice, Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa,said the move would allow support and assistance to flow to ordinary Cubans.

"More engagement will help the people of Cuba achievegreater freedom, human rights and religious liberty," wrote Bishop Pates,calling for a policy that "establishes full diplomatic relations with Cuba,withdraws all restrictions on travel to Cuba, rescinds terrorist designationsaimed at Cuba, encourages trade that will benefit both nations, and facilitatescooperation in the areas of environmental protection, drug interdiction andscientific exchanges."

Bishop Pates' letter follows the September 15 pastoralletter of the Cuban Bishops' Conference, "Hope Does Not Disappoint." In theletter, the Cuban bishops echoed the words of Pope John Paul II, who said U.S.policies toward Cuba have increased "the difficulties of the weakest concerningbasics such as food, health and education." Bishop Pates said the U.S. bishopsstand with the bishops of Cuba in "their call for greater respect for the humanperson."

The full text of Bishop Pates' letter is available online:

Previous letters regarding the U.S. bishops' position onCuba are also available online:


Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, U.S.bishops, Cuba, embargo, human rights, religious freedom, Bishop Richard E.Pates, Committee on International Justice and Peace, poverty, assistance

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