U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Chairman of International Justice and Peace Statement on Cuba Policy Changes

June 19, 2017 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—President Donald J. Trump recently announcedmodifications to existing U.S. policy towards Cuba that will impact travel byU.S. citizens to the island, as well as U.S. commercial relations with Cubangovernment-controlled entities.

In the following statement, Bishop Oscar Cantú of LasCruces, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace,expressed regret at the scaling-back of U.S. engagement with Cuba, while alsoappreciating the President´s concern for the human rights situation on theisland.

Full statement follows:

"On the eve of my pastoral visit to Cubaat the invitation of the Cuban bishops, I was saddened to learn that PresidentTrump scaled-back our country's bilateral engagement with the islandnation. The United States Conference ofCatholic Bishops, in solidarity with the bishops of Cuba and the Holy See, haslong held that human rights and religious freedom will be strengthened throughmore engagement between the Cuban and American people, not less. For decades,we have called for the U.S. travel ban and embargo against Cuba to be lifted.

In my capacity as international chairman,I urge that as the implementing regulations are drafted the President considerthe ramifications for many ordinary Cubans who have taken advantage of newopportunities to support their families. The President is correct; serioushuman rights concerns persist. The Cubangovernment must be urged to respect religious freedoms and to extend greatersocial, political and economic rights to all Cubans. The fruits of investment in Cuba shouldbenefit individuals and families, and not the security forces.

Pope Francis helped our nations to cometogether in dialogue. It is important to continue to promote dialogue andencounter between our neighboring nations and peoples."

Formore information about the Committee on International Justice and Peaceregarding Cuba, please visit the following page on the USCCB website: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/latin-america-caribbean/cuba/

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB,President Donald Trump, Bishop Oscar Cantú, Cubapolicy, bilateral engagement, Pope Francis, Holy See, religious freedom, humanrights, economic rights, investment, security, dialogue, encounter.