CRS Work in Cuba
Since the beginning of our relationship with local Church partners, Catholic Relief Services Cuba has been keenly aware of the difficulties surrounding our partnership. CRS has adapted programs to the Catholic Church in Cuba's pastoral plans and to the needs of Caritas Cubana. The focus has been to serve the needs of the poor and most vulnerable.
Humanitarian and Emergency Assistance
A major component of this partnership is our humanitarian and emergency response work. Over the last 14 years, CRS, in consultation with Caritas Cubana and the Cuban government, has shipped more than $27 million in emergency and humanitarian relief supplies to those in need. In 2006, working with various church-related U.S. partners, CRS sent more than 10 shipments of medical supplies and food.
"Only God knows how deeply grateful we are for this gesture of brotherhood from those sisters and brothers who, although far from us, are united with us through the same faith and love through Jesus Christ. Please express our eternal gratitude to all and may God bless you for this friendship and generosity."
— Mario Gonzalez, Caritas Cubana director in Camaguey
In addition to these humanitarian efforts, CRS provides immediate emergency response and long-term rehabilitation in the event of natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes in Cuba. When widespread flooding hit the city of Camaguey in 2006, destroying homes and leaving many without adequate shelter, Caritas Cubana issued an appeal for help.
The Mission Office of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis responded with a donation of $10,000. When Mario Gonzalez, the Caritas Cubana director in Camaguey, learned about the emergency assistance he said, "Only God knows how deeply grateful we are for this gesture of brotherhood from those sisters and brothers who, although far from us, are united with us through the same faith and love through Jesus Christ. Please express our eternal gratitude to all and may God bless you for this friendship and generosity."
Institutional Strengthening of Caritas Cubana
CRS supports Caritas Cubana's efforts to strengthen the ability of its national staff and countrywide network of some 12,000 volunteers as they respond to the social and pastoral needs of Cuba's poorest and most vulnerable groups. Caritas Cubana focuses its efforts on two of Cuba's most vulnerable groups: the elderly and children with Down syndrome. Caritas Cubana has also developed a national program in all 11 dioceses and 14 provinces, organizing multiple workshops on the local level aimed at increasing social awareness and spiritual development, while enhancing technical and coping skills of these vulnerable groups and their families.
The CRS U.S. Operations department continues to promote CRS-related delegation visits to the island, strengthening the relationship between the Archdiocese of Camaguey and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, as well as other organizations and institutions.
Finally, in accordance with our focus on social justice, CRS actively supports advocacy efforts to end the economic embargo of Cuba, and promotes positive relationships between the people of both nations.