The Hemispheric Front Criticizes the Pope for Receiving Cuban President Diaz-Canel and Treating Him With ‘Obvious Affection’

Pope Francis with Miguel Díaz-Canel, during his meeting in the Vatican. (Twitter/Cuban Foreign Ministry)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Miami, 27 June 2023 — The Hemispheric Front for Freedom (FHL), composed of parliamentarians, academics, political leaders and human rights defenders from several Latin American countries, criticized Pope Francis for receiving the Cuban president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, last week and for treating him with “an obvious affection that offends” the victims.

“It pains us as Catholics and Christians that you receive the criminal (Díaz-Canel) and other representatives of the Castro dictatorship while the Vatican ignores the true representatives of Cuban civil society,” the FHL said on Tuesday in a letter sent to the Pope.

The group says in the letter that it does not intend to question papal decisions but reminds the pontiff that the Cuban president “is charged with crimes against humanity” and that “his victims cannot be ignored, much less by you.”

“With what merit have you received the current dictator of Cuba?” asks the FHL, after saying that the reception of the Cuban leader “has painful and very questionable implications.”

Díaz-Canel was received on June 20 by Pope Francis, at the first audience held in the Vatican between the two. They talked for 40 minutes, according to Vatican sources.

After the meeting, the Cuban president met in the Secretariat of State with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and issues such as the request for the release of prisoners were discussed.

For the FHL, an organization committed to “promoting the values of freedom in the region and in the world,” the concession of the meeting “should have been conditioned, publicly and at the very least, on the release of Cuban political prisoners.”

It said in the letter that Díaz-Canel “unleashed a fierce repression that included shootings and beatings against the people who took to the streets, peacefully, to demand freedom” on July 11, 2021.

The Cuban government, it added, “does not respect women or children. Over 1,400 people were imprisoned, and 784 were sentenced to between 5 and 25 years in prison, including minors.”

The FHL reminded the Pope that “half a century of efforts, at the highest levels, have not produced an iota of moderation or tolerance in the communist regime, not even mercy for the innocent.”

The letter ends, signed by Dragos Dolanescu and Orlando Gutiérrez-Boronat, president and secretary general of the FHL, by saying that the Cuban regime will not change its attitude because “its ideology is based on hatred of everyone who does not think like them.”

Translated by Regina Anavy


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