Eighth Month / Rafael Leon Rodriguez

Rafael Leon Rodriguez,1 September 2015 — Cuba is preparing to receive Pope Francis, who will visit in the month of September as a “Mission of Mercy.” The third Pontiff who comes to these lands in just over 17 years. He was preceded by Benedict XVI, the “Pilgrim of Charity,” and the now Saint John Paul II, as the “Messenger of Truth and Hope.”

It was he who marked a milestone in the recent history of Cubans and inspired the beginning, with its advances and setbacks, of the current reform processes. This last 17 December and the events that day revealed, are frames in his call for the world to open itself to Cuba and for Cuba to open itself to the world, overcoming all, all the fears, realized in January of 1998.

But, the times of the Cuban authorities continue at an inappropriate rhythm for all that needs to be transformed. Now they declared that they are documenting, by request, the theory of the named socialism of the 21st Century. After experiencing live, as is the custom, in the great national laboratory, surely will visualize the supposed thesis and the certain supposed results. They also announced the holding of the 7th Congress of the only party, the Communist, this coming April.

And they had already announced the promulgation of a new electoral law and even a new constitution. The issue is that they are continuing to ignore and marginalize the political diversity in the country and everything decided, as in every military authoritarian government, continues to be through command and control.

Now, after reestablishing diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States of America, the need to also start of process of normalization of relations between the regime and the Cuban people has also been demonstrated, which should be nothing other than an opening toward democratic plurality and a rule of law. The peaceful opposition, within and outside the Cuban archipelago, worked for these objectives.

The “Declaration of Morelos” and more recently the “Declaration of San Juan” are in line with this. The announced presence of Pope Francis among us we hope will contribute, with his already proven experience, to push this other just cause.