Local Methodists return from mission to Cuba

A team of local United Methodists was in Cuba Jan. 18 -28 helping members of the Methodist Church in Nuevitas demolish crumbling walls and ceilings in preparation for repairs to be made. Shown above, first row, left to right, are Cindy Hall, Jane Gough, Maggie Clarke; second row, Jill Cosby, Tom Snyder, Mickey Seigle, the Rev. Mark Westmoreland; third row, Allen Harp, Marion McEachern, Jack Gilson, Craig Wiley. Photo/Special.

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Submitted by walterlx on Wed, 02/13/2008 - 6:30am.

This is an unusual and interesting report about people from the United States visiting Cuba, and not focusing on politics, but simply meeting with Cubans, talking about things of common interest, and then coming home after a productive visit. This is the kind of thing which everyone frm the United States should be able to do.

I hope very much that participants in the visit will write up and share their experiences with the readership.

My father and his parents lived in Cuba from 1939 to 1942. They were German Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, and not political left-wingers. That family history is where my own interest in Cuba comes from. My dad met my mom in the United States and that's how I came into this world.

Cuban society today represents an effort to build an alternative to the way life was under the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, who ran Cuba before Fidel Castro led a revolution there. No one complained about a lack of human rights and democracy in those days, but U.S. businesses were protected.

Some things work, some don’t. Like any society, Cuba its flaws and contradictions, as well as having solid achievements. No society is perfect. But we can certainly learn a few things from Cuba’s experience. I think we can learn more than a few. If we want to bring freedom to Cuba, the best thing we can do is practice what we preach.

We should all be free to visit Cuba. We can visit China and Vietnam, even North Korea, Syria and Iran, why can't we visit Cuba and see it for ourselves? Cuba is our neighbor and we should simply normalized relations with the island.

Since August 2000, the CubaNews list, a free Yahoo news group has compiled a wide range of materials, pro and con, about Cuba, its people, politics and culture, and life within the island and affecting it in the Cuban diaspora abroad.

Details on the Yahoo newsgroup:

Thanks very much,


Submitted by maggiec on Wed, 02/27/2008 - 8:18pm.

Thank you for your comments on my article. The Cuban people we met were wonderful. They were warm and loving and accepted us right away. They didn't have much, but they willingly shared what they did have. They were happy -- happier than we are in some respects, I think, because they can focus on family and friends instead material possessions. There was excitement and passion in the worship services that we sometimes don't see in this country. They appreciate their new-found freedom to openly express their faith. But I'm sure they would like to have easy access to a lot we take for granted, too, like aspirin and fresh milk (not powdered) and beef.

There are a lot of us who think we should end an embargo that never should have been. The Cuban people are the ones suffering. You are not alone in your thoughts on China and all of the other Communist or non-democratic countries. My brother and his wife adopted a little girl from China. When they went to pick her up, they shopped at Wal-Mart and ate at KFC and McDonald's. Cubans have religious freedom but the Chinese do not. What's wrong with this picture? I've asked our two Senators and our Representative, but they will not answer.

Cuba is a sovereign nation, just like we are. We would not change our form of government because another nation didn't like it. Why should they? In fact, I think we fought a couple of wars over that concept back in 1776 and again in 1812. But, as my father used to say, "Those who don't study history are bound to repeat it." Smiling Again, thanks for the comments.

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