File #3569: "DI-1315_ref.pdf"


National<:ouncil of the Churches of Christ in the USA


September 19, 1995
Office of the
General Secretary

Dear Representative:
I write on behalf of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC)
to urge your opposition to the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity bill,
H.R. 927, which is scheduled to be considered on the House floor this week.
We believe strongly that contrary to its stated objectives, the bill is likely to provoke
a negative response that will harm efforts to achieve peaceful social, economic, and
political change in Cuba.
The National Council of Churches and many of its member denominations have
maintained a decades-long relationship of pastoral accompaniment with the
Protestant churches of Cuba. Through Church World Service (CWS) -- our relief,
refugee, and development program -- the NCC has assisted for more than thirty
years in the resettlement in the U.S. of Cuban asylum seekers and _refugees. Over
the past four years CWS has carried out regular shipments of humanitarian
assistance that is administered through the Cuban Ecumenical Council for use in
nursing homes and childrens' hospitals.
On numerous occasions the NCC has called on the U.S. and Cuban governments to
engage in dialogue aimed at resolving the long-standing conflict between our
countries. In particular, we have urged measures that would foster greater
communication and understanding between people in the U.S. and Cuba, which we
view as key to achieving a more normal relationship.
Our deep concerns about the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solida~ity Act include
the followinl!:

Bv incorporatinl! in U.S. policy reco2nition of property claims of Cubans
who became U.S. citizens subsequent to the expropriation of their property,
and by subjectin2 to sanctions anyone who "traffics" in such property, the
bill is likely to stren!!then hard-liners within the Cuban government and fuel
renewed anti-U. S. sentiment amonl! the Cuban population. This provision is
likely be interpreted within Cuba as a move to return to the economic and
social situation that existed there prior to the 1959 revolution. There is little
or no support for such a move within Cuba, even among the most vehement
critics of the current regime.

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The bill specifies conditions for the expansion of U.S. assistance that are
likelv to undermine diplomatic efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution of the
conflict between the U.S. and Cuba. By linking broader U.S. assistance to
Cuba to a highly specific set of conditions, the bill reduces significantly the
diplomatic tools available to the Administration. At ·the same time, the bill
fails to broaden humanitarian or exchange programs that foster stronger
people-to-people relationships.


The bill reinforces regulations promulgated in August 1994 that restrict travel
and shipment of goods to family members. These new restrictions have led
to serious delays in efforts to secure licenses for travel to Cuba. The ability
to travel to Cuba on short notice is particularly important to the pastoral
accompaniment of the Protestant churches during this difficult period of
transition. [Oscar: other problems resulting from the new regulations?]

The NCC believes that a new approach to U.S. - Cuban relations is long overdue.
The Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solida.ry Act represents a further deepening of
an anachronistic policy in serious need of change. I strongly urge you to oppose
H.R. 927 and to support efforts to bring about more normal relations between
the U.S. and Cuba.





/5. ~

Joan Brown Campbell
General Secretary
National Council of Churches
of Christ in the U.S.A.