The idea of
praying the rosary came from Roilan Montero, who was himself a
political prisoner. The group gathers on the 18th day of each
month to pray for dissidents rounded up during the “Black Spring” of
2003, when some 75 people were arrested and sentenced to prison terms.
At first the
group met at the home of one of the prisoner’s family, but they had to
stop their meetings because of government pressure. They then
decided to ask Father Oscar Mario Romero Becerra if they could meet at
the parish of Palma Soriano. Government officials continued to harass
the group and eventually forced Father Becerra in August of 2004 to
leave Cuba and return to his native Mexico.
pressure, the group decided to meet on March 18 to pray the rosary,
with the permission of the new pastor, Father Francisco Sanabria Encizo.
agents set up huge loudspeakers in order to the keep the group from
initiating their prayers and coerced children and adolescents to taunt
the group once they finished praying. Father Sanabria was
denounced by the government for organizing a counterrevolutionary
activity in the parish, but he was not intimidated and said the rosary
had no political significance of any sort.
2003 Cuban police agents have been harassing the parish of Palma
Soriano, where a group of Catholics gather each month to pray the
rosary for political prisoners. Cuban officials have called the