Latin American Council Of Churches Statement
Since the acceptance on June 17th 2011, of the invitation of the Cuban churches to celebrate the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI) General Assembly in Havana, Cuba from February 19th to 24th2013, CLAI Board of Direction, its leaders and the leaders of the Council of Churches of Cuba (CIC), the Cuban CLAI member churches, and the CLAI-Cuba Committee have been working jointly in the coordination and local arrangements that are indispensable for this event.
Consequently, this communiqué intends to make of public knowledge:
First, our gratitude towards God, whose presence, blessings and grace have accompanied us in all the preparatory work of this 4th General Assembly; and
Second, our appreciation, acknowledgment and support to all the members of our churches and organizations as well as to non members, who have worked hard and persevered to make the 4th CLAI General Assembly a blessing for all.
However, the formidable work so far made is now being jeopardized by the freezing of the majority of CLAI funds intended for the delegates’ lodging and board, and deposited in an Ecuadorian bank agency, based in the United States. The only reason for this is that Cuba is the venue. Once again, the policy of the blockade against Cuba and its people is manifested by the current US administration, as happened in the ten previous presidencies.
Such a conduct constitutes a serious limitation to the freedom of the Christian churches for accomplishing their work of ecumenical witness and service in all Latin America. However,
- First, CLAI has seen for itself once more what the blockade means for the Cuban people in terms of deprivations, limitations and sufferings because in this very moment were are both experiencing it as parts of the Latin American church.
- Cuba, that has been accused of disrespect to religious freedom, offers all the opportunities for our work of evangelism and service to the churches and the people in the Latin American continent; and
- The United States of America, which is self-proclaimed as an example of religious freedom all over the World, limits and restricts this freedom by the use of policies that are ethically unacceptable for all Christians; policies that represent the past.
But this is no time for complaints, but time for reaffirming an “ecumenism of concrete gestures”. Consequently, the Cuban ecumenical movement is right now calling the Cuban churches to begin a fund raising campaign for the 4th Assembly, in response to the US freezing of CLAI Funds, which is part of its systematic policy of blockade and persecution of Cuba. It also appeals to the international solidarity of the Christian churches and agencies with whom we have fraternal relations (Acts 11:29).
Finally, the Cuban churches affirm that the challenges must be faced with faith in God, who impels us respond with “concrete gestures”.
THE CUBAN COUNCIL OF CHURCHES
Rev. Joel Ortega Dopico
Havana, November 26th, 2012, A.D.