14ymedio, Havana, 3 August 2021 — Another priest is raising his voice in opposition to the repression unleashed after demonstrations on July 11. Like most of the protesters that Sunday, he is also very young. His name is Rubén Orlando Leyva Pupo, a computer scientist who was ordained a Vincentian father just last year.
“Those who hold political, military and economic power in Cuba now have the chance to finish burying this obsolete, absurd and dark system that is communism and that is now throwing its final temper tantrum,” wrote Leyva Pupo on his social network page last Sunday .
“Cuba is dying,” he wrote, adding that he cannot close his eyes to “the harshness of this reality.” He noted that people are dying in hospitals and in Covid-19 isolation centers due to a shortage of medicines. “Malnourished and unvaccinated people from a very vulnerable population are becoming ill due to hunger and poor nutrition.”
The young priest, who serves in Santiago de las Vegas on the outskirts of Havana, writes, “There is always hope… This whole nightmare will pass. These 62 years of silence and numbing fear already came to an end on July 11.”
Cuba, he argues, now has the chance to write a new history, “to be brave, to turn off this bumpy road… to retake the path it should never have abandoned, that of a democratic Republic that is truly free in its political, social and economic participation.”
In his post, he maintained that the armed forces and police have the option to join those “who should serve and not repress the people,” adding that the current government has “the opportunity to craft a different legacy and future for new generations, who look upon this ineffective ideology of hatred and subjugation, clinging to power, with clarity and disgust.”
Fr. Leyva Pupo called upon all Cubans to play leading roles in a new nation, “with true rights” and economic and entrepreneurial freedom. “You have just been made aware, you who govern in the midst of popular discontent, that Marxism is not loved by the children of this nation, that communism is a ruinous Soviet import, which did not even worked for them,” he declared.
In conclusion, Fr. Lepo Pupo expressed his desire for a country where “ideology no longer reigns, where everyone has a place, where the streets belong to everyone, where power does not oppress or repress, or lash out… where people do not have to hide or lower their voices to express what you think and believe is correct.”
After the July 11 protests and the wave of repression that the regime unleashed on protesters, several religious leaders — some of whom had already made their position against the regime public — clearly reiterated that they are on the side of the people. The Cuban Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed “its discomfort at the deterioration of the economic and social situation” on the island.
“We not only we see the situation get worse but that we are also moving towards a rigidity and hardening of positions that could give rise to negative responses, with unpredictable consequences that would harm us all,” the bishops stated, insisting that “a favorable solution cannot be imposed by decree or by calls for confrontation.”
For its part, the Cuban Conference of Religious Men and Women requested “the prompt release of all those who have been unjustly arrested simply for exercising their right to demonstrate, to express their grievances.” It also noted, “It is a legitimate and universal right of every citizen to express his or her grievances in an orderly and peaceful manner in public space that is not the monopoly and privilege of any particular ideological group.”
A week after the protests, Pope Francis expressed his concern over the situation in Cuba and urged “dialogue and solidarity” in the country.
“My thoughts are with the beloved Cuban people at this difficult time, especially with the families, who are suffering the most. I pray that Lord will help build in peace, dialogue and solidarity an increasingly just and fraternal society,” said the pontiff.
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