November 4, 2013

Religious leaders urged President Barack Obama in an Oct. 22 letter to step up efforts at normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba.

“We believe that an improved, more cooperative relationship between our nation and Cuba would benefit Cuban churches and help facilitate progress toward full political freedom and economic opportunity for the Cuban people,” said the letter, signed by 21 leaders of faith-based organizations, including the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, the Franciscan Action Network, the Maryknoll Sisters, Pax Christi USA and Network, a Catholic social justice lobby.

The letter urged Obama to take several actions, including: Initiating direct, high-level dialogue with the Cuban government; removing Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism; lifting all restrictions on “people-to-people” travel between the U.S. and Cuba.