Work of Church in Cuba ignored overseas, says leading dissident


The president of the Christian Liberation Movement, Oswaldo Paya Sardinas, said this week that outside of Cuba, the true work that the Church does for the Cuban people is unknown.

“The Church is playing a key role in the evangelization and in aid to the poor, not only economically but also in a human and moral plane as well. I would like to clarify that, as a Catholic, I can only speak of the Church in third person.  Our local Church has suffered persecutions and de-Christianization in very difficult circumstances, but she has always been faithful to the Gospel, to the Church and to the Cuban people. This is a reality that is often ignored by international public opinion,” Paya told the Italian daily L’Opinione.

On the other hand, in referring to the state of the dissidents and political prisoners, he explained that the Christian Liberation Movement has presented a document to the National Assembly calling for “amnesty for all politicians who are not stained by acts of violence.”  However, he warned that Cuba is facing “a time of tension and very grave danger,” as “a harsh repression against our collaborators is underway.”

“A good portion of the members of the Varela Project are in prison solely because of their demands for greater rights in the country.  Currently, a portion is detained in terrible conditions, in shared prison cells.  With this document that we have sent to the National Assembly, we call for amnesty and freedom of movement for all of them, even for them to be able to leave prison,” he said.

On the other hand, Paya stressed that the future political model of Cuba should be decided by a free people, “without expecting a Chinese model or other systems imposed from above,” although he acknowledged that “today that is not possible.”

“Our proposal seeks national reconciliation, which can only be achieved through the recognition of the dignity of the person.  We are not pseudo human beings, but rather children of God,” he said.  “We want to build a more just society, with greater economic freedoms, without falling into pure commercialism,” he added.

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