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Catholic church leaders call for dialogue between the U.S. and Cuba


U.S. President Donald Trump announces his Cuba policy July 16 at the Manuel Artime Theater in Little Havana, a neighborhood of Miami. (CNS photo/Joe Skipper, Reuters)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The retired Catholic archbishop of Havana called for dialogue between the United States and Cuba, and said it's the only way in which past and present problems can be solved.

In a June 19 letter published in Palabra Nueva, the magazine for the Archdiocese of Havana, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, who played a major role in the rapprochement between Cuba and the U.S., said "resorting to old models" and applying them presently to Cuba can "overshadow or delay" the resolution of conflicts between the two countries.

The letter coincided with two important events: the release of Cardinal Ortega's book chronicling the role the church played in the 2014 restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S, and President Donald Trump's announcement of changes to U.S. policy toward the island-nation, including a rollback of an Obama-era opening of diplomatic relations and an easing of some restrictions.

A U.S. bishop echoed what Cardinal Ortega said about dialogue."It is important to continue to promote dialogue and encounter between our neighboring nations and peoples," said a statement, also released June 19, from Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace.


When Trump delivered his speech June 16 in Miami, It was hard to tell what changes were made to U.S. policy toward Cuba, but what couldn't be missed was the tone he took toward its government.

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