14ymedio, Juan Izquierdo, Havana, 13 September 2022 — The Dominican priest David Pantaleón, a superior of the Jesuits in Cuba, left the island on Tuesday due to the Government’s refusal to extend his residence permit. The Jesuit is already in his own country, according to a source.
The also former president of the Cuban Conference of Religious Men and Women was known for his critical assessment of the Regime and for promoting solidarity initiatives with the artists of the San Isidro Movement and, later, with those arrested during the July 11, 2021 protests.
The community celebrated a farewell mass for Pantaleón this Sunday. One of the nuns participating in the ceremony, Ariagna Brito Rodríguez, lamented on Facebook that the priest suffered in his own flesh the “faculties of dictatorial power, without principles or values.”
“They fear the truth; they fear the faces of good and get rid of what bothers them,” denounced Brito, who also said that “those who must be expelled from the country” are those who make up the government, who govern with a heavy hand a people who are “enslaved, punished, whipped and forced to flee.”
The source consulted by this newspaper specified that, as was said during Mass, Pantaleón was forcibly withdrawing from Cuba, due to the impediments of the Government, which made it clear that “he was no longer well received” on the Island.
He adds that, following, the directors of the Society of Jesus and other ecclesiastical authorities will issue a statement about the situation, which they have wanted, out of respect for the priest and his faithful in Havana, to handle with discretion.
The repression against members of the Cuban clergy has intensified in recent months, through surveillance, blackmail and regulation of travel permits.
From Camagüey, the Catholic priest Castor Álvarez confirmed to this newspaper that he had received the news that a group of nurses from that city had been summoned by State Security, after having taken a photograph with Pantaleón after the Mass of the Virgin of Charity, last Wednesday.
“One of the nurses is a neighbor of the priest,” Cuban layman Osvaldo Gallardo said on Facebook. “At the end of the mass she went with her colleagues to greet him. He blessed them, and then they took a picture.”
Gallardo adds that the headquarters of the political police in that city is located in front of the sanctuary of the Virgin of Charity, where Álvarez celebrated Mass. In addition, it provides an image where you can see an agent recording the procession from the second floor of the building. The priest is still waiting for information about the outcome of the meeting.
Catholics on the Island fear retaliation after the message published on Monday by the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba, which recommends voting no in the referendum on the new Family Code.
The statement, which opposes several traditionally problematic points between the Church and the State in the family sphere, also contains a criticism of the Regime’s propaganda.
“The information, flowing in one direction without other checks and balances, operates as a conditioning factor, and the vote that derives from it will express, necessarily and inevitably, a conditional will,” the prelates said.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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