NCCUSA Visits Cuba

( [email protected] ) Jan 23, 2004 11:49 AM EST

The delegation from the National Council of Churches USA left for their six day visit to Cuba, Thursday, Jan. 22. The members will have a chance to hold consultations with Cuban churches and to celebrate the dedication of a Greek Orthodox cathedral in Havana.

Prior to the trip, the delegates requested for a visit with the Cuban president, Fidel Castro, but have not yet received a confirmation.

“The NCC is hoping o discuss church concerns and issues pertaining to US-Cuban relations, including the harsh sentences imposed on 75 dissidents by Cuba's courts in spring 2003,” an NCC statement noted.

"From a moral standpoint, this issue is of crucial interest to the National Council of Churches," it said in a statement. "We find the sentences excessive."

This visit marks the NCCUSA’s third appeal to the Cuban government on the arrest, trial and sentencing of the dissidents to prison terms of from six to 28 years.