Solidarity with the Cuban dissidents prevented form participating in the Papal visit
The Christian Democrat Organization of America (ODCA) expresses its solidarity with Cuba’s dissidents, members of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL), who were prevented by the Cuban government from freely participating in the religious activities scheduled as part of Pope Francis’s visit to Cuba.
The ODCA regrets the Cuban regime’s employment of a range of repressive and intimidation mechanisms to prevent the participation by MCL leaders and Human Rights activists in religious activities, which represents a violation of both their rights of conscience and freedom of movement, and discrimination, as other citizens were authorized to participate in the events.
The ODCA received reports of arrests, disconnected telephones and blockaded houses to prevent dissidents from organizing or reaching the sites where the religious ceremonies were held, in Havana, Holguín and Santiago de Cuba.
The police and paramilitary collaborators surrounded the homes of numerous critics of the government, organizing a siege to prevent them from freely attending the mass led by the Pontiff, or moving about freely. This intimidation tactic, as well as arrests for brief periods of time, are regular practices that have been denounced for several years by Human Rights organizations.
We share here the words of a young Cuban who asked for the Pope’s help to build a Cuba through the participation of all Cubans, without exception: “Help us, Holy Father, to be young people able to cooperate with those who think differently, and not to confine ourselves behind religious or ideological walls; to overcome individualism and indifference, great evils plaguing Cuban life. And may we, when we leave here, be able to perceive the signs of our times, and join hands to build a Cuba as envisioned by our national hero, Jose Martí: with everyone, and for everyone’s good.
We reiterate our solidarity with the Human Rights activists and members of the MCL who continue to suffer repressive and intimidation measures, among them Dr. Eduardo Cardet Concepción, Vice-president of the ODCA and the National Coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement; Armando Peña Guzmán, Coordinator of the MCL in Las Tunas; Ibars González, from Sagua la Grande; Rosá María Rodríguez and Yordan Mariño, in Havana, amongst many others.
We call upon our parties and Human Rights organizations to demand an end to these Human Rights violations, and to be vigilant for possible retaliatory actions that may affect members of the MCL or any Cubans for their political convictions or religious faith.
The ODCA reaffirms that it is only through freedom, democracy and a total respect for Human Rights that the people of Cuba will be able to build a country for all its people.
JORGE OCEJO MORENO
FRANCISCO JAVIER JARA ODCA EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
Mexico City, 22 September 2015