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Cuban American bishops call for humanitarian aid

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WASHINGTON  — Four Cuban American bishops called on the international community to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Cuba and expressed solidarity with them following protests that erupted on the island nation starting July 11.

“We call on international governments and all charitable organizations to collaborate in assisting in this urgent humanitarian crisis for the sake of the suffering people of Cuba, especially the sick and the poor,” they wrote in a joint statement July 13. It was signed by four bishops who were born on the island or have Cuban heritage: Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez of Philadelphia, Auxiliary Bishop Manuel A. Cruz of Newark, New Jersey, Bishop Felipe J. Estevez of St. Augustine, Florida, and retired Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros of Brooklyn, New York.

“We commend the care of Caritas Cubana, as it continues to mediate — with ever so limited resources — a response to the basic human needs of the people of the island, recognizing that the alleviation of suffering is a moral imperative,” they said in the letter. “Their chant of ‘Libertad’ (‘Liberty’) underscores their desire for every Cuban citizen to enjoy basic human rights, as recognized as part of our human dignity by the United Nations and defended for centuries by the Catholic Church in its social teaching,” they added.

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