Statement on President Obama’s Action on Cuba

April 14, 2015

Today, April 14, 2015, President Barack Obama formally submitted a report notifying Congress of his intention to remove Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list.

Church World Service joins many of its member communions, the Cuban Council of Churches and partner churches throughout Latin America and the Caribbean in applauding this action.

CWS has for decades advocated for normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba. We rejoiced in President Obama’s December 2014 joint decision with Cuba’s President Raul Castro to reestablish diplomatic relations and remove many practical restrictions on U.S. engagement with the Cuban people and government.

We are pleased to see the implementation of this major new step, which is long overdue. The report submitted to Congress is required 45 days prior to Cuba’s actual removal from the list. But Congress does not have authority to block the president’s action.

Important elements remain in the implementation of the changes announced by President Obama and President Castro, as American and Cuban negotiators work out the details. CWS will follow this process closely and oppose any Congressional efforts to undermine them. We also urge Congress to finish the work of normalization by bringing a complete end to the trade embargo and permitting tourist travel, actions that only Congress can take.

Every major step toward full normalization, like today’s action, will support the aspirations of the Cuban people and benefit our own nation.

We congratulate President Obama for this courageous and timely accomplishment.

the Rev. John L, McCullough, President and CEO, Church World Service