In Cuba, the opinions within the Resistance in regards to the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the island are diverse. Some are of the thought that the visit will only benefit the Cuban regime, legitimizing the dictators. Others suggest that is a positive event. However, despite any sort of differences, it is safe to say that nearly all Cuban dissidents have agreed that at least during the moment that the Pope will be in Cuba (from March 26th to the 28th), a grand sector of the international community and press will have their eyes set on Cuba, and therefore, it is a moment which should be taken advantage of to benefit the internal opposition.
For this reason, the former political prisoner of conscience from the group of the 75 from the Black Spring, Angel Moya Acosta, has called on all Cubans in and out of the island to pressure Pope Benedict XVI so that he at least meet with figures of the Resistance. “We (the internal opposition) are asking that our brothers in exile help us so that when Benedict XVI comes to Cuba he at least dedicate a minute to the opposition, to the outcasts, the persecuted…for this makes up a grand part of the social doctrine of the church“, declared Moya.
The dissident from Matanzas added that if Benedict publicly mentions the opposition and the struggle which dissidents carry out for the freedom of Cuba, then “all Cubans would get to hear straight from the voices of those who suffer“.
However, Moya warns that the Cuban dictatorship “will try to manipulate the presence of his Holiness in Cuba. Because of this, we are calling on public and international opinion, on our exiled brothers, so that they help us send a message to Benedict XVI so that he meet with dissidents. If this were to occur, we will let him know what really happens here on the island“.
“Ever since John Paul II came to Cuba up to present day, the situation in Cuba has not changed at all for the benefit of the people. In fact, repression has increased in Cuba, and the economic and social situation in this country is worse every time. Benedict should know about this situation“, affirmed the dissident.
The recent months leading up to Pope Benedict’s visit to Cuba have been marked by state violence against peaceful dissidents. In fact, a number of human rights activists are continuously impeded from traveling to their respective churches throughout the island. This has occurred especially with the Ladies in White who are beaten, dragged, sexually harassed, deported, detained, and threatened by government-organized mobs which are made up of regime functionaries and secret police agents, Sunday after Sunday. In addition, in just one year and a half 4 public figures of Cuba’s opposition have been assassinated by the regime- Orlando Zapata Tamayo, Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia, Laura Pollan Toledo, and most recently, Wilman Villar Mendoza. Other political prisoners or detainees have declared themselves on hunger strike, while countless other political prisoners are being subjected to cruel tortures and other inhumane treatments and conditions.
Moya reiterates that the current moment cannot, and should not, be wasted.
For more information from Cuba:
Ángel Moya Acosta – Cell phone: 011- 5353- 820 – 595; Twitter: @jangelmoya