I have just watched President Donald Trump deliver a statement of his plans to undo the work of former President Obama to hopefully end the embargo against our neighbor, the country of Cuba.
It took me going to Cuba, starting over two years ago, to understand the embargo that our Government placed on that wonderful Country. It took me meeting members of my community, the LGBTQ communities, along with all Cuba’s to see how ridiculous this law is. This small country has suffered for over 50 years from that embargo. All the people of Cuba suffer from this act. There are ten observations that I would like to make.
1. The army of Cuba has never once attacked the United States. Our country has made peace with other countries who they once viewed as enemies, but not this wonderful, beauty, little country with a population smaller than the population of Southern California.
2. Cubans may not like our government, but they all seem to like Americans. They go out of their way to meet us. They are some of the friendliest people on earth.
3. There is freedom of religion in Cuba. It is guaranteed in the Cuban constitution. While there, I met with all kinds of people of faith. I spoke at the evangelical seminary in Matanzas, Cuba, and at the national Council of churches of Cuba in Havana. I met members of the national assembly of the republic of Cuba who are Christian clergy. The Metropolitan Community Churches has three worshiping groups there.
4. The Cuban constitution guarantees freedom of speech. An American friend of mine asked the Cuban in front of me, “what are you permitted to criticize your government?” The answer was, “Yes, if you do it respectfully.” And they do that. I have seen Cubans criticize some of the acts of their government just like we Americans do. Most citizens I met support their government.
5. The government of Cuba guarantees as basic rights; jobs, healthcare for every citizen, and food. That sounds a little like the gospel to me.
6. Our government still tries to blame Cuba for food shortages, the like of clothing, etc., on Cuba’s government. I don’t believe that’s true. I do believe it’s the American embargo that’s the problem. For some reason we love to blame the victims of oppression. As a Christian clergyman I believe it is the responsibility of my church and my government to “feed the hungry, close the naked, and visit those in prison” as Jesus said. But if you really want to make a difference in peoples lives, help them get a job.
7. All members of the Cuban society are concerned about the continuance of the embargo. I want to say it again, all members of the Cuban society suffer together under it. It makes no difference who you are in that culture.
8. I hope that you will help pressure the Congress of the United States today in ending the embargo. This is an unjust law. Remember, you’ll be in good company. 70% of Americans polled wants to see the embargo lifted.
9. Visit this wonderful country! You will have the same life changing experience that I did.
10. Make It your business to attend the Cenesex Conference and the march against homophobia and transphobia held each year in Havana.