Oswaldo Payá asks Patriarch Bartholomew to support peaceful dissidence in Cuba

In a letter sent to the Orthodox Archbishop of New York, Demetrios, Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas of the Christian Liberation Movement in Cuba has asked the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church, Bartholomew I, who is visiting that country, to express his support for peaceful Cuban dissidents.

Payá was not able to personally deliver the letter to Bartholomew, who arrived on the island to consecrate the recently completely orthodox Cathedral of St. Nicholas, which was completely financed by the government of Fidel Castro.

According to a spokesman of the Orthodox community in Cuba, Bartholomew I did not meet with any Cuban dissidents because “it was not on the schedule.”

In the letter, Payá welcomed Bartholomew to Cuba, “a Christian land that in recent decades has suffered from an attempt  to de-Christianize its memory, its life and its culture by a regimen that knew that in order to subject all its people, it had to first uproot the name of God from their hearts.”

“It is this people that welcomes you with love and respect and awaits your words inspired by the Holy Spirit, which will always be words of reconciliation, forgiveness, freedom and liberation,” writes the leader of the Varela Project.  Payá asks Bartholomew I to carry “our message:”  “we want peace, we want reconciliation, we want and we can carry our own Cuban project of justice and democracy.”  “But with the freedom that the Lord our god has given us…” “They say ‘socialism or death’, but we say ‘freedom and life’,” adds the message. 

The leader of the Christian Life Movement reminded the Patriarch of the Orthodox of the “hundreds of men and women imprisoned in our country” who are being held “for proclaiming the truth, for encouraging reconciliation and for defending the rights that, more than rights, are gifts of God to the human person.”

For this reason, Payá emphasized in his letter that “those who wish to treat the Cuban people with respect” and those who wish “to contribute to peace among all Cubans and with Cuba,” should support the peaceful changes toward democracy in our country for which we are being persecuted.  They should support consultation with the people, the Referendum, the dialogue that we Cubans desire.”

“May they raise their voices and pray for our people that have been silenced, but have not lost hope,” the letter concludes.

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