Just hours before Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Cuba, this blog will continue publishing statements of numerous Cuban dissidents and activists about his visit to the island. The question is: Now that the cameras of the world will be focused on Cuba: what message would you send the Pope and the world?
This response is from Eriberto Liranza Romero, president of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy (MCJD)
“My message and that of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy (MCJD) for Pope Benedict XVI is that we believe it is his right to come here to Cuba to meet his followers and his parishioners in the church. But there is still time to rectify his mistake of not receiving the Ladies in White and not meeting with the opposition, which is an opposition, for the most part, that has always been in the streets demanding freedom and human rights which are also proclaimed in the same Bible. And those are our rights which the Castro dictatorship violates and it is those very same rights which they deny the Church itself on many occasions, interfering with churches, tearing down churches, taking pastors and priests prisoner at the beginning of the Revolution and expelling them from this country when they raised their voices to denounce the slander and lies of this 52-year dictatorship.
This is our message, and I’d also like to remind the Holy Father that we, as the MCJD, have been demanding for over 20 years the re-opening of the Santo Tomas de Villa Nueva Catholic University, a university that the regime closed. We have also demanded that the regime return Villa Marist Catholic church and all the convents stolen from the church, which the Church has kept silent against these abuses and violations.
This is our message to Benedict XVI. He can rectify this, he still has time to meet with the opposition, for he has all the authority to do so.”