EFE (14ymedio), Havana, 7 March 2016 – The Cuban Council of Churches (CIC) said this Sunday that it “salutes and celebrates” the President of United States Barack Obama’s visit to the island on the 21-22 March, which will be “profitable” for both countries, the region and the world in the current international context.
“We appreciate that this visit is being realized from a position of mutual respect and recognition of the sovereignty of peoples, cultures and specificities of each nation,” said a statement by the CIC, which brings together a community of Protestant and evangelical churches and ecumenical institutions of the island.
The Council of Churches believes that the visit of Obama, the first US president to travel to Cuba in 88 years, is an “important step forward” in the normalization of relations, which can positively affect both countries and all of Latin America, it says in the statement released today in the official media on the island.
“Many of the Cuban Protestant and Evangelical churches are heirs of the work of American missionaries and American,” institutions that have become “a bridge of friendship” between Cubans and Americans in search for a possible normalization between the two countries, he said.
The statement also says that the American president will visit an island of “peace and diversity,” with European, African and Asian cultural roots, and where different branches of Christianity, along with eight religions live “in harmony.”
US President Barack Obama, announced on 18 February that he will travel to Cuba with the first lady, Michelle Obama, with the goal of expanding progress with bilateral normalization, which began in December 2014, and to influence pending improvements on human rights.
In addition to holding a bilateral meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro, Obama will meet with members of civil society and business. However, an interview with the US president and the Cuban ex-president, Fidel Castro is not expected.
This will be the first trip by a US president to the island since Calvin Coolidge travelled to Cuba in 1928.
In 1948, then US president Harry Truman visited the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and US-controlled territory, and Jimmy Carter has also traveled to Cuba several times, but never during his presidency.