WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

11 Aug 2021 | Joint Statement

24 Organizations and Faith Groups Call for Humanitarian Action in Cuba

President Joseph R. Biden

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500


Dear President Biden:

The unprecedented social outburst in Cuba last month has called attention to the difficult situation on the island. We are deeply concerned about the worsening humanitarian crisis that is causing needless suffering and death for the Cuban people. Our partners in the Cuban churches—congregants, ministers, and their communities—have expressed their distress concerning the severe shortages of basic medicines, food, and other vital materials amidst the COVID-19 battle.

As faith-based denominations, organizations and partners, many of whom have a long history of work on the ground in Cuba, we are writing to ask you to prioritize the well-being of the Cuban people, irrespective of political considerations, by taking immediate humanitarian steps, and suspending U.S. regulations that prevent assistance from reaching Cuba and the Cuban people.

In Cuba, we hope that the Cuban government will respond to these protests with dialogue and action; as in other countries, we condemn heavy-handed responses to protests by security forces, and we urge the government to release all those detained for peacefully protesting or reporting on the protests.

We know that Cuba’s economic crisis has been caused by numerous factors. However, it is clear that the U.S. economic embargo—intensified by the Trump Administration—is contributing to the worsening humanitarian situation the island is facing. We believe your administration should take the necessary steps to remove all obstacles preventing families and communities in the U.S. from helping families in Cuba.

Specifically, we urge you to:

  • Lift all restrictions and caps of family and donative remittances that could help Cubans purchase food and medicine on the island
  • Re-staff the U.S. embassy in Havana and reinstate consular services
  • Remove the requirement for specific licenses to send medical supplies to Cuba and the “end-use verification” requirement for humanitarian imports, both of which vastly increase the red tape in sending aid to the island from the US, and which discourage both donors and sellers
  • Lift all restrictions on banking and financial transactions related to humanitarian aid as well as restrictions on the percentage of US-made material used in foreign- produced medical supplies that inhibit the purchase or distribution of humanitarian aid internationally.

We hold you in our prayers and hope your administration can act immediately on this urgent request. Our faith partners in Cuba are reaching out to us for assistance. We hope that you will hear their plea.


Alliance of Baptists

American Friends Service Committee

The Armenian Orthodox Church

Christian Reformed Church Office of Social Justice

Church of the Brethren, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy

Church World Service 

Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces

Cuba Partners Network – Presbyterian Church (USA)

The Episcopal Church

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Florida Council of Churches

Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)

Friends United Meeting

Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ

Latin America Working Group

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns 

Mennonite Central Committee U.S.  

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA 

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society

Washington Office on Latin America