ON the final day of his first pastoral visit to Cuba, Reverend Jerry Pillay, president of the World Communion of Reformed Churches, stated he would appeal to the humanity of U.S. President Barack Obama to show solidarity with the Cuban Five and their families.
As part of his visit he met with family members of the Cuban anti-terrorists imprisoned in the United States for close to 14 years and affirmed that he was moved by some of the stories they recounted. During a press conference at the headquarters of the Cuban Council of Churches in Havana, where he was welcomed by Antonio Santana, its vice president, he stated, "My message to these families was that we can never give up on the commitment to their release."
The South African pastor declared that his organization would attempt to unite voices and place on the agenda of the World Council of Churches, the World Lutheran Federation and other ecumenical organizations, including those in the United States, the cause of Ramón, Gerardo, Fernando, Antonio and René, plus the issue of the blockade of Cuba.
Regarding his fruitful five-day visit to Cuba, Pillay —who is also general secretary of the United Presbyterian Church of South Africa— made reference to his tour of various faith organizations in the country, such as the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Cuba and the Matanzas Evangelical Theological Seminary. He also met with representatives of the Religious Affairs Department of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party.
The World Communion of Reformed Churches, which has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, is a network of Protestant Churches from 108 countries, with an estimated membership of over 80 million. One of its key objectives is to promote economic, ecological and gender-related justice worldwide.