What I Hope For From Benedict XVI / Rafael Leon Rodriguez

By: Yoaxis Marcheco Suárez

Statements made to the international press by Pope Benedict XVI, the expected visitor who treads our Cuban soil for a few hours, raised my levels of hope a little with respect to what the political and religious leader can do with his impact on our country. Not that I expect his presence here will change the course of history, but at least it may contribute to the truth of our reality.

I expect a little more of the highest representative of the Roman Catholic Church, not a political speech, but a direct demand to the Cuban government to respect the human and civil rights so abused in Cuba. Yesterday afternoon in Santiago de Cuba, both the Archbishop Dionisio Garcia Ibanez and the Pope made reference to intolerance and a call for understanding and reconciliation among Cubans, but it is necessary to warn, reconciliation is respect, it is silent and hatred before a different voice, it is to live in peace without having to account to the powers-that-be for our ideology or political thought.

I hope from the Pope that he mentions the sad and shameful fact that many Cubans, including practicing and recognized Catholics such as the layman Dagoberto Valdes may not participate in any of his masses because they remain repressed and detained at their homes or in dungeons, with their cell phones silenced and without any media.

That bringing to light the lie of this nefarious totalitarian regime be before the Cuban people and before the world should be an important part of the papal calendar. That he does justice to the marginalized politicians, the voices raised against the dictatorship and that he promotes the rights of our human race to Cubans inside and outside the country is essential.

As an evangelical Christian and Protestant, I know God’s voice is my voice because I have appropriated it and the voice of God is that of the humble, the poor, the disadvantaged, it is them that I defend, I am part of them. I hope Benedict XVI also takes this opportunity to ask, without subtlety, or ambiguity, that they cease the acts of repudiation, the abuse of dissidents, the arbitrary detentions, the lack of respect for ideas and make it clear that a Cuba with all and for the good of all, would be an inclusive Cuba and not otherwise.

God is not the private property of the Revolutionaries, He belongs to everyone and for the benefit of all. I hope, then, that Benedict XVI will be sure to bring that truth and that his voice can impact the nation with a strong call for harmony, love, reconciliation and unity among all those born on the island. And in fact I fully agree with him on the need to “build an open and renewed society” that cares about “the legitimate aspirations of all Cubans wherever they are.”

March 27 2012