Political Prisoners of the Empire  MIAMI 5     



Havana. November 5, 2014

U.S. religious leaders call for change

It is due to the shared values of our faiths that we ask that the families of Alan Gross and of the three Decorated Heroes of the Republic of Cuba be reunited, stated Reverend John McCullough, President and executive director of the Church World Service leading the U.S. delegation on a visit to Cuba from November 2-5.

Left to right, Rabbi Sunny Schnitzer, and Reverends Gradye Parsons, Jesús Ortega and John McCullough. Photo: Ismael Batista
Left to right, Rabbi Sunny Schnitzer, and Reverends Gradye Parsons,
Jesús Ortega and John McCullough. Photo: Ismael Batista

The call —made by the Cuban Council of Churches, Reverend John McCullough, Rabbi Howard “Sunny” Schnitzer and Reverend Gradye Parsons, from the U.S. Presbyterian Church — was made during a humanitarian mission which began with a visit, in February, by a delegation from the Cuban Council of Churches to members of the U.S. Congress, the State Department and religious leaders.

Historically, the World Service of Churches and the Cuban Council of Churches have maintained relations through which they have advocated for an end to the U.S. imposed blockade of Cuba, the elimination of Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and the development of a stable relationship between the two nations.

Although exchanges and visits between Cuban and U.S. leaders of these religious institutions have continued, “In Cuba, a delegation met with religious leaders, representatives of the Cuban government, in order to establish a sustained commitment to advocate for the reunification of families and encourage normalization of relations between the two countries,” stated McCullough, who recently visited Antonio Guerrero, one of the three Cuban anti-terrorists still unjustly incarcerated in the U.S., and assured that he will also visit Ramón La­bañino and Gerardo Hernández.

“Our generation must abandon the type of relationship that exists today and move toward a new one, full of hope for the good of further generations,” stated Reverend Joel Ortega Dopico, President of the Cuban Council of Churches, also emphasizing that the declaration is not an isolated event, but the result of many years of commitment and trust so that Cubans and U.S. citizens can build a world of peace.

In this sense, Rabbi Schnitzer commented that the delegation’s aim, on returning to the U.S., is to report on the events and important dialogues which took place, as well as, continuing to raise awareness within U.S. society about the case of the Cuban Five and Alan Gross.

During their stay in the country the delegation held exchanges with Cuban religious leaders and officials. On the evening of October 4, they were received by Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, who repeated Cuba’s call for dialogues with the U.S. government, in conditions of equality and mutual respect. The delegation previously met with Minister of Foreign Relations, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla.


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