Just hours before the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Cuba, this blog will continue posting statements of opposition activists and Cubans with respect to the visit. The question asked is: Now that the world’s cameras will focus on Cuba, what message would you send to Pope Benedict XVI and the world?
Response of Marta Díaz Rondón, a member of the Ladies in White, Vice-President of the Rosa Parks Movement and a member of the Eastern Democratic Alliance
“To His Holiness Benedict XVI, you are the representative of the Church. I know that you come to Cuba to ask for good things for us here in this country where, every day that passes, they beat us more and repress us more. Since Friday, March 23rd we have been besieged by State Security. There have been many arrests of dissidents, and I think it is a great hypocrisy that Raul Castro will receive you as he cracks down on us. We are only people who are fighting peacefully for the freedom of Cuba, as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King fought. We want to pray for peace, so that in Cuba there will be peace and democracy. We want to participate in your Mass, so that you will give us your blessing”.
– March 23, 2012
As a practicing Catholic and Lady in White, Marta Díaz Rondón regularly tries to assist Mass every Sunday in her hometown of Banes, Holguín. Usually she is dragged, beaten and arrested for this reason. What’s more, when she tries to leave her town to join her sisters-in-struggle in the city of Holguin, she is deported and detained. Just hours before the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Cuba, a wave of arrests has been unleashed across the entire island. Díaz Rondón is one of those who have been arrested. She was visiting the home of her elderly mother in Buenaventura (Holguin), where a police cordon maintained its vigilance for 24 hours a day. In declarations to this blog, Diaz affirmed that despite the surveillance, she would go out to the street. It seems that is exactly what she did, and was arrested for it. It’s another case of repression on the eve of the papal visit.