The San Juan Star (Puerto Rico)
November 12, 1983

U.S.-Cuba ties renewal urged by church group

HARTFORD, CONN (UPI) - The National Council of Churches, winding up one of the most divisive meetings in its 30-year history, Friday urged the government to restore ties with Cuba and end efforts to overthrow the Nicaragua government.

But the group sidestepped acceptance of homosexual denomination as a member during the three-day meeting that left major tensions unresolved.

As one of its last acts of business, the 262-member board representing 31 Protestant and Orthodox church bodies approved a policy plan on Latin America.

It calls for the United States and Cuba to restore diplomatic relations, advocates an end to U.S. efforts to overthrow, the government of Nicaragua, and urges a negotiated settlement of the civil war in El Salvador.

Left unresolved however was the major issue of the interfaith agency's relationship with the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, a 27,000 member homosexual-oriented denomination.

In the Latin American Policy statement,, the board first approved but then, after a flurry of behind the scenes activity, deleted an amendment criticizing the Cuban government for its efforts to "destabilize and overthrow the governments of other nations."

Those opposed to the anti-Castro reference argued that it would "create serious problems with our relationship" with the Cuban Evangelical Council of Churches, which has served as a conduit to express U.S. concern over Cuban human rights violations and helped free some U.S. prisoners from Cuban jails.

The policy statement also called for an end to arms sales by the United States and other governments to nations in the region, expressed concern at the militarization of Puerto Rico and criticized U.S., Soviet and other foriegn support for dictatorial regimes in the area.