The recent declarations made by cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino, head representative of the Vatican in Cuba, have given rise to a wide range of opinions throughout the entire island, and not to mention also outside of our country. 72 hours after the conference with Jaime Ortega Alamino the Cuban government has remained totally quiet. Those leaders who are in power have two options. The most feasible and beneficial choice would be to accept the message and commence working towards positive results for the good of all Cubans. However, they could also chose to attack the Catholic Church with unstoppable intolerance.
It wouldn’t be the first or last time in which the authorities of Havana have used absurd language in an attempt to defend themselves against the unjustifiable. Night after night I ask myself: Is so much political blindness possible? I think that even some of the most loyal members to the regime desire a 180 degree turn for things. The Cuban nation needs real changes, not cosmetic ones like those that are carried out by the current president, Raul Castro Ruz. The current living conditions are unsustainable, and there is where the gravest danger for our society lies. Our society is worn out from so many sacrifices and the same rhetorical discourse, in addition to all the constant necessities that affect nearly the entire population.
As a result of the visit of His Holiness John Paul II in 1998, the Catholic Church has gained some terrain. Currently, the church enjoys a position that is advantageous, and perhaps even fundamental, for the destiny of this country. In that same manner we must emphasize that the current scales between government and the Catholic Church are similar enough. The government has power while the church feeds the faith and souls of all Cubans. It’s also true that other religions have gained importance as well, conquering the hearts of some of the most dispossessed people- an essential factor when the time for change comes.
On multiple occassions I have heard people say that the Catholic Church has been a silent witness of perverse acts. Such a statement would prove that the true power of the church is not so strong within the society. I don’t judge any religion- such a task belongs to God- but I don’t share that opinion which is someitmes ill-intentioned and possibly even ordered by the political police against the Cuban Catholic Church. It’s true that the fall of the communist system in Eastern Europe counted on the support of Catholics, especially Poland. The solidarity movement, together with the church, were the pillars of the transformation of that country. I am not unaware of the conditions and individual characters of the European country in relation to Cuba.
At odds with the communist Cuban administration, the Catholic Church has published the international covenant of economic, social, and cultural rights (which Cuba is a signatory of) in whatever methods of communication they have available. Other Catholic publications refer to the need of a common well being, the death penalty, the economic crisis in the country, and other subjects that make reference to the loss of values during these past years, especially since the government-declared “special period”.
More than just offering words, the Church can serve as a bridge for reconciliation. The government should not consider the words of Jaime Ortega Alamino as criticisms, and instead they should make a conscience note of the reality which consumes our anxieties of wanting freedom and independence. The latest happening prove that the diabolic visciousness against the Ladies in White must cease. We must look at the future with optimism. In Cuba, if we continue down the path which has been imposed on us by a system of government, it will lead us to a catastrophe that would be difficult to fix. We should act accordingly with current times, with sense, consciencness, and lots of responsibility. What needs it most is this very land whch we call our country.
Pablo Pacheco Ávila, prisionero de conciencia
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