More than 20 churches and faith-based organisations in the United States have written to President Joe Biden urging him to lift sanctions on Cuba as the country faces political turmoil.
In an open letter, the signatories are calling for Biden's administration to remove all restrictions on Cuba as "it is clear that the U.S. economic embargo - intensified by the Trump Administration - is contributing to the worsening humanitarian situation the island is facing".
The signatories, which include The Alliance of Baptists, Church World Service and The Episcopal Church, are arguing for the removal of "caps of family and donative remittances that could help Cubans purchase food and medicine on the island". They also want to see all restrictions lifted on "banking and financial transactions related to humanitarian aid".
The letter reads: "We are deeply concerned about the worsening humanitarian crisis that is causing needless suffering and death for the Cuban people. Our partners in the Cuban churches - congregants, ministers, and their communities - have expressed their distress concerning the severe shortages of basic medicines, food, and other vital materials amidst the Covid-19 battle.
"As faith-based denominations, organizations and partners, many of whom have a long history of work on the ground in Cuba, we are writing to ask you to prioritize the well-being of the Cuban people, irrespective of political considerations, by taking immediate humanitarian steps, and suspending U.S. regulations that prevent assistance from reaching Cuba and the Cuban people."
Last month, nationwide anti-government protests sparked in Cuba due the poor conditions in which locals are living as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. They demanded economic and political change.
During the protest, many people was arrested including three pastors, one of which remains in prison. His family has not received any news regarding his welfare since he was first arrested.
"We hope that the Cuban government will respond to these protests with dialogue and action; as in other countries, we condemn heavy-handed responses to protest by security forces, and we urge the government to release all those detained for peacefully protesting or reporting on the protests," the letter continued.
It concluded: "We hold you in our prayers and hope your administration can act immediately on this urgent request. Our faith partners in Cuba are reaching out to us for assistance. We hope that you will hear their plea."