US Bishops welcome change to policy on Cuba

 Bishop Howard J Hubbard, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), welcomed the Obama administration's decision to relax restrictions on Cuban-American travel and regulation in remittances to Cuba, calling the move 'long overdue' and 'an important change in US policy towards Cuba.'

In an April 15 letter to Daniel Restrepo, Senior Director of Western Hemisphere Affairs for the National Security Council, Bishop Hubbard wrote: 'The USCCB has for many years called for relaxing the sanctions against Cuba. These policies have largely failed to promote greater freedom, democracy and respect for human rights in Cuba.'

He added: 'Improving the lives of the Cuban people and encouraging human rights in Cuba will best be advanced through more rather than less contact between the Cuban and American people.'

Bishop Hubbard also urged the Administration to build on the President's action and work with Congress to remove travel restrictions to Cuba for all Americans.

The full text of Bishop Hubbard¹s letter can be found online at: www.usccb.org/sdwp/international/2009-04-15-hubbard-cuba-travel-ltr-nsc.pdf