The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace is calling for the economic embargo on Cuba to be lifted.

Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, said in an April 17 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that “it is imperative that more must be done to support deepened dialogue and communication between our respective countries”, to help foster human rights and other positive changes in Cuba.

Bishop Pates said he visited Cuba in March for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI and learned how complicated it is for the church’s social aid organizations to function because of the trade embargo.

He noted that the staff of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana told him Catholic charitable organizations are advancing a more free and humane society.