Published On: Wed, May 14th, 2014

US religious leaders call upon US president to improve relations with Cuba

ObamaHAVANA, Cuba - US religious leaders called upon President Barack Obama on Monday to take executive action to improve relations between the United States and Cuba.

A letter addressed to the US president by several leaders of Christian, Protestant Moravian churches, the National Council of Churches of the United States, Presbyterian churches and other congregations, urged him to start immediate and good faith talks with Cuba.

These debates should take into consideration Cuban concerns about Washington's policies, the letter said.

The text stated that programs like the ZunZuneo social media project are inefficient and wrong. In the interest of making progress in the re-establishment of relations, the US church leaders called for a high level dialogue to tackle a wide range of topics, including greater freedom of travel in all categories, and eliminating Cuba from the list of nations sponsoring state terrorism, an irritating and unnecessary matter in an already tense relation, which detracts from the credibility of the list in itself.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Corn Growers Association wants Obama to expand trade opportunities between the United States and Cuba.

In a communiqué, the organization, based in Bloomington, says that Cuba's location represents "an excellent opportunity for food and consumer products of Illinois." This is because the country is located very close to the commercial ports of the southern part of the United States. But corn growers say that federal restrictions on financial transactions with Cuba are making business difficult.

The president of the association, Gary Hudson, pointed out that Illinois is the country's sixth state losing more business opportunities due to financial and travel restrictions.

The association is part of the Cuba-Illinois Work Group, the General Assembly of which was created in 2013. Among other matters, the organization asked Obama to establish an agriculture trade office in Cuba.

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