'We opened our hearts to hope,' Cuban dissident says after papal visit

.- Oswaldo Paya, a peaceful dissident and global director of the Christian Liberation Movement, said Cubans have “opened our hearts to hope” after attending the Mass Pope Benedict XVI celebrated in Havana.

In a statement posted on his website on March 28, Paya said that despite harassment and widespread surveillance by government agents, he was able to attend the Mass in Havana, “where the People of God heard the words of the Holy Father.”

Paya also denounced the recent arrests made by the Castro government to prevent dissidents from participating in Pope Benedict XVI’s historic March 26-28 visit to the country.

“Our first words are for hundreds of our fellow dissidents who were not able to be here because of the wave of fear. There was a great absence of precisely those of us who defend human rights,” he said.

“I speak of them and in the name of those who have no voice and have only suffered scorn and repression, and we must remember.”

“But we prayed with the Holy Father, we opened our hearts to hope,” Paya emphasized. “As John Paul II said: we have to be the protagonists of our history.”

“Liberation is a task for the Cuban people – now with greater hope because we are definitely on the verge, on the threshold of truth and liberation. That is our hope,” he said.

Although CNA has interviewed Paya on multiple occasions, the agency was unable to contact Paya via phone this week as the local operator claimed the number was incorrect. 

Carlos Paya, who represents the Christian Liberation Movement from Spain, said Oswaldo Paya's number in Cuba “is being blocked” and that he does not have access to internet.

Carlos Paya said information about the CLM has to be published out of Spain because of the restrictions that exist in Cuba.


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