Independent Catholic magazine in Cuba to cease operations, due to funding shortfall

.- The Catholic magazine Vitral announced on Tuesday that it would fold due to a lack of resources.

The magazine, published by the diocese of the western city of Pinar del Rio since 1994, was one of the few publications in Cuba not controlled by the government and provided a rare space for critical debate within the communist country.

The magazine was distributed through the Church's Cuban social network, reaching 10,000 subscribers.

According to diplomats, only two issues were published this year because the magazine staff was unable to get the paper and toner needed to produce each edition on six photocopiers, reported Reuters.

The Vatican showed their support for Vitral by naming its lay editor, Dagoberto Valdes, to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in 1998, one year after Pope John Paul II's landmark visit to Cuba.

According to Reuters, an editorial in Vitral's last edition criticized the government's "anachronistic and ethically unacceptable" economic policies.

Cuba has been at a crossroads since Cuban leader Fidel Castro handed over power to his brother eight months ago following emergency surgery, it said.

"This could be the moment for those high in the government to steadily, gradually and peacefully open up the opportunity for participation by all Cubans," the editorial said.

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