Cuba: priests and the faithful lament

the passivity demonstrated by the bishops

before the communist regime

In Havana, priests and the faithful consign respectfully but
categorically, the passivity demonstrated by the Shepherds before the
toughening of the Castro regime

Miami, (CubDest)-- "Among the Catholics there are no voices
lacking, that criticize the religious authorities," so it is written
from the prison-island by a cable from the Vatican news agency Fides. A
priest from Havana, quoted by Fides, assures that "the regime is
toughening its position, as it understands that it has nothing to fear
from the Church." Another clergy from the Cuban capital, interviewed by
the same agency, laments that some catholic intellectuals from the
island "have blessed already the Cuban revolution." The person
interviewed cites as a recent example, the last number of the magazine
"Palabra Nueva" (New Word) - from the Archdiocese of Havana - in which
an article entitled "Revolution," "talks about Castro's revolution, as a
continuation of the revolution inspired by Father Félix Varela."

Claudia Márquez Linares, a Catholic layperson from a parish in Havana
and member of Grupo de Trabajo Decoro, in an article for the news agency
CubaNet, affirms that "a considerable percentage of the Cuban catholic
faithful, specially the young people, are disenchanted with the
passivity of the Cuban clerical hierarchy, before the current national
events." Among other testimonies, Mrs. Márquez tells of a young woman in
her parish that "recently converted and is very committed to the faith,"
that she states: "In the rest of Latin America, we have always seen the
catholic institution and its hierarchy, pronounce themselves strongly,
against human rights violations, but we, the cuban Catholics, do not
have a hierarchy that manifests in the same way."
To the religious persecution, including against children, denounced a
few days ago by independent reporters from the island(*), we must add
the religious oppression against political prisoners also. According to
Cuba Press and Noticias Eclesiales, the Political Imprisonment of Las
Villas, has sent a letter to Monsignor Emilio Aranguren Echeverría,
Bishop of Cienfuegos and general secretary of the Conference of Catholic
Bishops of Cuba (COCC), in which it denounces that "even though there is
apparent tolerance" the prison authorities of Ariza prohibit the
realization of religious cults of prayer and studies.

"With obvious provocation, the officers of reeducation Hector
Martínez and Veneraldo Caballero Corbellar, have blasphemed in the
presence of Christian practitioners" and "before claiming to observe
respect to the Christian religion, they have continued their offenses,
making it worse," according to political prisoners in a letter to Msgr.
Aranguren. They add that "our tolerance makes us ask for forgiveness for
those who do not know what they do," at the same time that "it is also
an obligation as Christians" to manifest "the necessary objection and to
reclaim (our rights), to put an end to this practice which is so

(*) Cfr. CubDest, "Cuba:recrudece la represión religiosa, inclusive
contra niños", Miami,Marzo 7, 1999