The Assembly of the Cuban Resistance, a platform of opposition organizations from inside and outside the island, wrote Tuesday to Pope Francis to express “surprise and pain” for his recent statements on Cuba and ask him to mediate in favor of the Cuban people. Not the “regime.”
“From this letter, we inform you that the Cuban people will not accept a fraudulent change, will not accept an agreement behind their backs that guarantees permanence and stability to the regime in exchange for the freedoms and rights of the Cuban people,” states the letter sent to the head of the Catholic Church.
The organizations of the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance (ARC) affirm in the letter that from the Pope’s words in an interview with two Mexican journalists, they deduce that the Holy See would seek to mediate in eventual negotiations between the United States and Cuba. ARC also reveals the “mediation” they would like from the Catholic Church.
“The most important mediation that corresponds to the Holy See with the dictatorship is in favor of the Cuban people, who raised their voice on July 11, 2021, when thousands and thousands of Cubans took to the streets peacefully asking for ‘freedom’ and ‘change of system’ and received, in response, beatings, repression and imprisonment before the silence of His Holiness,” they say.
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The letter criticizes Francis’ recent interview on the first anniversary of the July 11 peaceful protests in Cuba in which he said that Cuba is “a symbol” for him and spoke of his “human relationship” with former Cuban President Raul Castro.
“In his statements, there were no words of charity and encouragement for the more than 700 political prisoners, for the Cuban mothers, for the children and husbands of the 77 women detained for more than a year, for the children as young as 12 years old held in behavioral schools, for the minors in political prison and condemned to work in forced labor camps,” say the opponents.
And they add: “Both the Cuban people on the island will continue to demonstrate, and the Cuban exile community will mobilize all its forces so that Cubans will no longer be robbed of their homeland and their lives. Freedom is a divine gift that no tyranny has the right to take away from a people.”
In addition, they blame the pope for “the lack of recognition of the risks that some priests, nuns, and seminarians in Cuba are suffering for accompanying their people in their demands for freedom.”
“Freedom, we ask for our political prisoners, for our imprisoned youth. You should know, Holy Father, that right now in Cuban prisons there are men and women of faith who —like those who were killed before the firing squad by the dictatorship shouting “Viva Cuba Libre! Vida Cristo Rey!” — need words of encouragement from your Church to resist a terrible injustice.”
The Cuban opponents bid farewell, telling the Pope that they hope to find in him “the understanding and words that the moment requires.”