World Alliance of Reformed Churches News Release 29 February 2008
End the economic embargo of Cuba, Reformed church leaders demand
Reformed church leaders from the Caribbean and North America have called for the lifting of the United States' economic embargo against Cuba in the interest of justice and right relationships.
The Caribbean and North American Area Council (CANAAC) of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) met 25 to 28 February in Georgetown, Guyana, under the theme "Breaking the Chains."
CANAAC will be sending a letter to U.S. President George W. Bush and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi asking them to lift the embargo, calling it a violation against the Cuban people and an exclusion that impoverishes and causes harsh suffering for women, men and children.
Earlier the United States said there will be no early end to the economic embargo of Cuba with the election of President Raul Castro. This week Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's secretary of state, called the economic embargo against Cuba "ethically unacceptable."
Delegates from CANAAC and the Caribbean and North American Council for Mission (CANACOM) visited projects and engaged in discussions with Guyanese on issues such as poverty, race and gender-based violence.
They heard how small countries like Guyana, which have no place at international negotiating tables, suffer severe consequences and are squeezed out of their traditional local economic activities as a result of neoliberal economic globalization.
The Reformed leaders agreed at the meeting to engage a Caribbean consultant for WARC's Covenanting for Justice Project and to seek more ways to engage one another in collective action and theological reflection on economic and ecological justice issues in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.
CANAAC will also establish a youth network in the region to encourage involvement on issues such as leadership development, race, poverty and violence.
"This assembly has been a new beginning for CANAAC," said WARC President Clifton Kirkpatrick, who is stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA). There was tremendous energy among the delegates for making the theme, "Breaking the Chains," come alive in the Caribbean and in North America.
"Concrete strategies were set to build momentum around the WARC General Council's call in Accra to covenant for justice in the economy and the earth. Meeting in Guyana, it was evident for all why this call to justice is so critical for the life of the churches and the society."
Patricia Sheerattan-Bisnauth, executive secretary for WARC's Office for Church Renewal, Justice and Partnership, added: "This opportunity for Caribbean and North American people to connect with each other's stories through listening, sharing, analyzing and hearing how people survive in these tough times is a tremendous gift and a significant step forward for the covenanting for justice process."
The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) brings together 75 million Reformed Christians in 214 churches in 107 countries - united in their commitment to making a difference in a troubled world. The WARC general secretary is Rev. Dr. Setri Nyomi of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana. WARC's secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
Contact: John P. Asling Executive Secretary, Communications World Alliance of Reformed Churches 150 Route de Ferney P.O. Box 2100 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland tel. +41.22 791 6243 fax: +41.22 791 6505 web: www.warc.ch