Declaration in response to the [upcoming] visit of United States’ President Barack Obama to the Republic of Cuba, on March 21 and 22, 2016.

March 4, 2016

Cuban Council of Churches
March 2, 2016
Havana, Cuba

The Council of Churches of Cuba welcomes and celebrates the visit of the President of the United States of America to the Republic of Cuba in the month of March. We believe that this visit can be beneficial, not only for both countries, but for the region and for the world, especially in the complex international context that we live in today.

We appreciate that this visit is taking place based on positions of mutual respect and on recognition of the sovereignty of the people and the cultures, and on the specificities of each nation. We understand that it is an important step forward in the dialogue and search for normalization of relations, which can positively impact both nations and Latin America.

The President of the United States will be visiting a peaceful and diverse island in which European, African, and Asian cultures have converged to create our Cuban culture. Not only are there dozens of denominations and various branches of Christianity living together in peace, but there are also eight religions living in harmony, united by the search for a better society where the values and ethics of life and the gospel can be a reality.

President Obama also comes to the land of Jose Marti, a man of Latin American and of the world, who had a profound political and ethical sensibility about the historical destiny of Cuba and who had also a profound admiration for the positive values of the land of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. He also comes to an island where the Colombian peace dialogue is taking place, and where the historic encounter between Pope Frances of the Roman Apostolic Catholic Church and the Patriarch Kirill of the Orthodox Church of Moscow and Russia took place.

Many of the Protestant and evangelical churches in Cuba are heirs to the work of North American missionaries and churches. For many years we have formed a bridge of friendship, along with other Cubans and North Americans, in the search for a possible normalization of relations between our two countries, praying and acting for the arrival of this new era.

Today, once again, we raise our prayers to the God of life and peace, as the Cuban people together with the people of North America, for the governments of Cuba and the United States, and especially for President Raul Castro and President Barack Obama, as well as for the church leaders in each country.

We invite our counterparts, brothers and sisters in faith, and all the men and women of goodwill in the United States and the world, to come together in prayer and action for this historic moment that both our nations are living.

We welcome the statements by President Obama urging the U.S. Congress to lift the embargo.

Finally, our thanks to the God of life: Father, Son and the Holy Spirit during this time of Lent; a time in which the church prays and fasts placing emphasis on what the word of  God tells  us, that the true fasting is that for justice, mercy, and walking humbly with God.

May Christ Resurrected bless Cuba and the United States and all the people of our lands, and may this blessing from the Risen One guide us on the paths of dialogue, of justice, love and peace.