Hope for Cuba to reopen soon.
After eight long months battling coronavirus here in the US and in Cuba, it appears as though Cuba may be poised to reopen to tourists in the coming weeks. Havana currently remains closed to tourism as the COVID hotspot, but recent articles indicate that flights might resume from Miami to Havana in early November. This is certainly great news for our brothers and sisters of the Episcopal Church in Cuba.
As most of you are aware, since March of this year, Cuba has been shut down to all international travel, and travel within the country has been very restricted. Movement between provinces has been forbidden without special permission.
The country has done a good job limiting COVID deaths to 123 with a total of 5,900 cases (as of 10/26). The Cuban Health Administration is testing a locally developed vaccine and they hope to vaccinate the elderly beginning in the new year.
The Episcopal Church in Cuba has been working tirelessly to meet the needs of the people, providing clean water; growing vegetables on church land to help offset tremendous food shortages; and raising rabbits and chickens for additional food supply. While the national teen camp in Havana was cancelled this August, some local summer programs for kids did take place in rural communities.
Our channel for wiring funds to Cuba has closed down as of June 2020 due to new US government restrictions. The only way to transmit funds now is through Western Union. There is a limit of $1000 every 90 days and the sender must assure that the recipient is a family member. So we are very hopeful that future travel will allow us to bring funds to support the church.
If you are interested in how you can help with our support of Cuba, here are a few suggestions:
1. Keep Cuba mission work alive and well in your local congregation/ community. We hope to be able to travel and send funds in the coming months.
2. Stay in touch via email and Facebook with your friends and colleagues in Cuba. Your love and support is so vital to them.
3. Consider signing up to keep a clergy cell phone “charged up”. This can be done in the US with a US credit card. A clergy cell phone is their lifeline to Havana as well as the rest of the world. To join this important work, contact Julia Sullivan at email@example.com. She can assign you a clergy or staff member and provide details on the special promotions that are available. Here are links to 3 interesting articles on the current travel situation in Cuba: