Churches challenge plan to limit religious assistance to Cuba

Outraged by latest restrictions on humanitarian aid
A Bush administration recommendation that the United States should further limit humanitarian and religious aid to Cuba is contrary to religious freedom, say many U.S. Christian groups with long ties to Protestants on the island.

The Commission on Assistance to a Free Cuba released a report July 10 with recommendations designed to foster democracy in the Caribbean communist nation. President Bush gave the interagency task force—headed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez—the task of devising plans to ease Cuba’s transition to democracy once longtime dictator Fidel Castro, now 80, dies.

The report included measures designed to further tighten the nearly 50-year-old U.S. embargo of Cuba. One recommendation was to ban U.S. groups from providing humanitarian aid to Cuban organizations that the administration deems too closely tied to Castro’s regime.


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