WASHINGTON (July 13, 2000) -- The 40-year old U.S. embargo against Cuba should be lifted, according to the Chairman of the Bishops' International Policy Committee, who praised recent efforts in the U.S. House and Senate to end restrictions on food and medicines.
"The embargo imposed by the United States has, in my view, long exhausted the moral legitimacy it may once have had and should be abandoned," said Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston in a statement released today.
Cardinal Law singled out efforts by U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt (R-WA) and U.S. Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO). In an effort to open up new markets for the agricultural goods produced in their states, each introduced legislative language in their respective Appropriations Committees to ease restrictions on the sale of food and medicines to Cuba. The full House omitted the sanction reform language in its version of the agriculture appropriations bill, but Cardinal Law expressed optimism that it would be restored in the conference committee that will work out differences between the House and Senate versions.
"Whatever the motives some members may have for seeking an end to restrictions on the sale of food and medicines to Cuba, any measures that relieve the present unjust shortages of basic foods and medicines for the average Cuban, especially the poor, are to be commended," he said.
He called the embargo against Cuba, imposed soon after President Fidel Castro's rise to power, "outmoded and unjustified," and expressed hope that the lifting of the Cuban embargo would prompt a review of all "punitive measures that have either served their purpose or have shown their inability to serve any justified political goal."
NOTE: Full text of Cardinal Law's statement.