Joint Statement of the

National Council of the Churches of Christ in USA and the 

Council of Churches of Cuba

La Habana, Cuba – Washington, DC, USA — March 26, 2020

On either side of the river is the tree of life
with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit  each month;
and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.                     

 –Revelation 22:2 NRSV

We are only days away from Easter 2020, the most important celebration of Christianity, and the world is going through a crisis of inestimable implications that affects all edges of life on the planet.

The Council of Churches of Cuba and the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA have worked closely together for many years for the right to life, health, and welfare of all the inhabitants of this world. It is the love of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, that unites us and demands that we raise our prayer to our God for the countries and the families that suffer today because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This suffering intensifies and worsens due to inequalities and injustices; the enormous gaps between the rich and the poor; differences among regions; lack of inclusion; gender injustice and migratory and climate justice problems.

  • We solicit the government of the United States for the immediate lifting of the economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed on Cuba for over 60 years as well as that imposed on other nations.
  • We request the cessation of all manipulation and use of political and economic interests in the face of the current global health crisis, worsened and visualized by the COVID 19 pandemic.
  • We request the international ecumenical movement; all churches and faiths in the United States and in the world; governments; the United Nations and all people of goodwill to come together in a global effort to petition for the immediate lifting of the blockade and the cessation of all sanctions on any country or region. Especially now, these genocidal policies hold back and limit the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • We salute and congratulate the Pastoral Letter of the World Council of Churches on March 18; the Joint Statement of the ACT Alliance and Religions for Peace on March 26; especially the Call of Church World Service on March 24 in relation to the blockade and the sanctions. Other initiatives and efforts are coming into being as a global campaign in favor of collaboration, unity, and peace in the search for appropriate responses and solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic and world crisis.

We are grateful for the thousands of Cuban doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals who are selflessly providing lifesaving assistance throughout the world.  Therefore, it is imperative the blockade and coercive sanctions are lifted so they would be able to save lives during the pandemic.

We know that goodwill between Cubans and Americans will help the entire world in this moment.  We pray our call will be heard.

Jim Winkler
General Secretary and President
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA

Rev. Antonio Santana Hernandez
President
Council of Churches in Cuba

Rev. Joel Ortega Dopico
Executive Secretary
Council of Churches in Cuba

Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer
Governing Board Chair
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA

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The Impact of Economic Sanctions Against Cuba Amid COVID-19

Cuba has been under U.S. economic sanctions for over sixty years, costing the island nation billions of dollars. In the last year, the Trump Administration has dramatically increased economic sanctions against Cuba, leaving them strapped for cash. As the confirmed cases of COVID-19 increase daily within the country, the economic toll resulting from these sanctions has led to a shortage of medicine and medical supplies needed to combat the virus. Despite Cuba’s strong healthcare system, their lack of access to the appropriate medical supplies is hindering their ability to treat and contain COVID-19. The international community must make every effort within its power to stop the spread of the virus, protect people particularly the most vulnerable and ease the harm the virus causes. In order to do that, the United State must suspend the sanctions that are inflicting the most harm on the Cuban people.

The Impact of Economic Sanctions Against Venezuela Amid COVID-19

U.S. economic sanctions in Venezuela had led to a public health crisis prior to the rise of COVID-19. These sanctions negatively impacted Venezuela’s economy and have prohibited the importation of essential, lifesaving products, including medicine and medical equipment. Economic sanctions imposed by the United States have already caused increased disease and tens of thousands of excess deaths, according to a 2019 study. Hospitals throughout the country are suffering from a lack of masks, gloves, and other protective gear essential for the proper treatment of COVID-19 patients and for containing the virus. Additionally, many hospitals lack clean water and soap, further indicating that an outbreak of COVID-19 in Venezuela would likely spread rapidly.

The Fight Against COVID-19 Must Be Global

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights recently called for sectoral sanctions to be reduced or suspended. During this crisis, the world must come together to effectively fight it. Any hindering of the medical efforts in one country increases the risk for the entire globe.

Contact the administration and your members of Congress today! Urge them to make every effort to stop the COVID19 by easing the sanctions on Cuba and Venezuela and helping the most vulnerable get the medical care and equipment they need.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:
https://www.votervoice.net/PCUSA/Campaigns/73235/Respond

 

 

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