Resolution Number: A251
Moved By: Rev. Jennifer Gosse from the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland & Labrador
Note: The mover and the seconder must be members of the General Synod and be present in the House when the resolution is before the synod for debate.
BE IT RESOLVED:
That this General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada:
a) Join with its Episcopal and ecumenical church partners in Cuba in calling for an end to the U.S. economic embargo of Cuba;
b) Urge the Government of Canada to maintain a foreign and trade policy towards Cuba that is independent from that of the U.S. and to offer to act as a mediator in the normalization of relations between Cuba and the U.S.
Explanatory Note/Background Information:
Since 1967 the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) has had a unique relationship with the Episcopal Church of Cuba (IEC). In that year ties were severed between the Episcopal Church U.S.A. and the IEC, which was a missionary diocese of ECUSA. The Primate of the ACC became one of three members (and president) of the Metropolitan Council of Cuba that was formed to provide oversight of the ECC. The Council meets once a year in Cuba at the time of IEC’s annual Diocesan Synod.
Likewise, the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) has maintained partnerships with the ecumenical community in Cuba since the 1980s. Currently PWRDF partners with the Cuban Council of Churches, the Martin Luther King Centre and the Christian Centre for Reflection and Dialogue.
These denominational and ecumenical relationships provide for rich and varied opportunities for mutual support, growth and learning. There are spaces to work with civil society organizations and NGOs in Cuba. This has contributed greatly to the advocacy work undertaken with the Canadian government with respect to its official relationship with Cuba. The Canadian churches (through the Canadian Council of Churches) were one of the first Canadian organizations to receive funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Currently, CIDA supports our work in Cuba, work that includes education on participatory community development, food security and production; programs addressing human dignity, gender and racism, and issues affecting the most vulnerable and marginalized sectors of Cuban society: the elderly, those living with HIV/AIDS, and Afro-Cuban communities.
All of our partners have spoken to us over the years of the negative impacts of the economic embargo on the Cuban people and on their church institutions; a measure they characterize as an assault of the sovereignty of Cuba and the right of Cubans to self-determination. Since the events of September 11, 2001, they have witnessed with increasing concern the further tightening of the embargo through such measures as the U.S. Patriot Act that, among other things, has made it increasingly difficult for much-needed funds to be transferred from churches in the U.S. to the Cuban churches.
At the same time, our partners have spoken of the importance of Canada’s “constructive engagement” approach in its political and economic relations with Cuba. Since September 11, 2001 Canada’s official relationship with Cuba has cooled to one of “engagement”, as the Canadian government seeks to improve its relations with the United States. As a result, Canada’s independent foreign policy with respect to Cuba is in danger of being seriously compromised at a time when, more than ever, there is a need for Canada to play a mediating role between the U.S. and Cuba with a view to the normalization of relations.
Partners in Mission Committee
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