WASHINGTON (September 28, 2000) -- The Chairman of the Bishops' International Policy Committee today urged an end to U.S. sanctions which prohibit the sale of food and medicine to Cuba.
"It is time to leave aside a policy that, whatever moral justification it may once have had, has clearly outlived its purpose," said Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston. He made his remarks in a letter to members of the congressional conference committee working out differences between the House and Senate versions of the Agriculture Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2001.
The full text of his letter follows:
September 27, 2000
"I write once more to urge that the language approved by the Senate that would lift all unilateral sanctions on the sale of food and medicine (the "Dorgan language") be retained in the conference report for the FY 2001 Agricultural Appropriations bill. We are primarily concerned with the impact this will have in ending U.S. sanctions against Cuba.
"The Catholic Bishops of Cuba are under no illusion that the end of the sanctions imposed by our government will usher in a time of economic prosperity for their people. They do know, however, that retaining the sanctions continues to hurt only the most vulnerable sectors of that society, and provides the regime with propaganda advantages it does not deserve .
"In his historic visit to Cuba in 1998, Pope John Paul II characterized 'the economic measures imposed from outside the country,' that is, the United States embargo against Cuba, as 'both unjust and morally unacceptable.' It is time to leave aside a policy that, whatever moral justification it may once have had, has clearly outlived its purpose."