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USCCB urges post-hurricane assistance for Cuba

.- Restrictions on travel and financial remittances to Cuba should be suspended temporarily so that Cuban Americans can help their relatives in the wake of Hurricane Dennis, said the chairman of the United States bishops’ International Policy Committee. Hurricane Dennis hit Cuba July 8, causing extensive damage and at least 10 deaths.

In a July 19 letter to U.S. Rep. José Serrano (D-NY), Bishop John Ricard, SSJ, of Pensacola-Tallahassee expressed support for Serrano’s resolution (H.Con.Res. 206) that would ease restrictions on family travel and financial remittances sent to Cuba.

The bill is “a laudable example of the humanitarian spirit that ought to be a constant element of our Cuba policy,” the bishop wrote.

“Unfortunately,” he added, “despite repeated Administration expressions of concern for the Cuban people, the recent policies that further restrict the ability of Cubans in this country from aiding their suffering relatives on the island, including most incomprehensibly the limitation of family visits to once every three years instead of annually as before, seem to belie that concern.”

Bishop Ricard also stated the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ long-standing position that “the failed economic embargo policy [for Cuba] should be dismantled.”

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