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A Message from the Conference of Catholic Religious in Cuba

To the Members of Consecrated Religious Communities who live in Cuba and to all people of good will,

We, who are responsible for accompanying consecrated religious life in Cuba, welcome, with deep respect and interest, the cries and hopes manifested by the people who have gone out to protest on the streets throughout the country on Sunday, July 11. As consecrated religious, we experience these events from a perspective of faith, and we recognize God’s voice in the people’s grievances. The people who came out into the streets are not delinquents; they are everyday Cuban people who found a way to express their discontent.

Police detain a person during protests in Havana July 11, 2021. Thousands of Cubans took to the streets to protest a lack of food and medicine as the country undergoes a grave economic crisis aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic and U.S. sanctions. (CNS Photo/Reuters)

In communion with the important and inspiring message of our bishops that was published yesterday, July 12, we also feel that “we cannot close our eyes or look the other way, as if nothing were happening.”

As sisters and brothers who walk with the Cuban people, we wish to propose these five points which we see as essential for overcoming the difficult situation the country is going through and for building fraternity among all:

  1. Let us remember and defend the principle that all citizens have a legitimate and universal right to express their grievances in an orderly and peaceful way in public; public space is not the monopoly or privilege of any particular ideological group.
  2. All of the people who have been unjustly arrested for simply exercising their right to protest should be released immediately.
  3. We reclaim the right to information and communication which has been extremely violated by the cutting of cellular connections and the blocking of social media. This increases the uncertainty and consternation of a people that already feels overwhelmed by dire economic, health, and social situations.
  4. We should all avoid the trap of using violence as a way to impose one’s own version of the truth. We are worried that due to a lack of capacity for dialogue and listening, the government will attack, repudiate, persecute and condemn people who think differently and express their views in public.
  5. It is important for all of us to listen to each other in order to find solutions for the root causes behind these protests. Only by going to the root of the problems will we be able to truly heal them.

We entrust ourselves to Our Lady of Charity; may she help us to overcome all temptations of violence and exclusion, and guide us in the ways of fraternity, reconciliation, justice and peace.

Board of Directors of the Conference of Catholic Religious in Cuba (CONCUR)

Havana, July 13, 2021

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