The Puerto Rican Bishops’ Conference expressed its solidarity with the desire of the Cuban bishops “to be heard, for peace, freedom, sincere dialogue and freedom of speech to address the major problems” confronting the island nation.
“From Puerto Rico we join in their hopes for a Cuba that, in peace and brotherhood, will achieve the desired changes for a more decent and happy life,” the Puerto Rican bishops wrote in a statement published earlier this month.
The message of the Puerto Rican bishops was published as a show of support for their Cuban counterparts, who three days before the planned Nov. 15 nationwide demonstrations supported the people’s right to publicly express “their discontentment over the deterioration of the economic and social situation” on the island.
In their Nov. 12 message, the Cuban bishops also pointed out that the solution will not be reached with “impositions, nor by calling for confrontation.”
The Cuban bishops implored “that the paths of understanding, reconciliation and peace be paved so that the various proposals on the present and future destiny of Cuba find an area of common sense, tolerance, fraternity and harmony; and a harmonious and civilized dialogue be established in which the best solutions to the challenges that concern them can be found” in a Cuba in great distress.
Recently, activists and priests in various places in Cuba have denounced the persecution, harassment, and the militarization of the streets to prevent the peaceful marches for freedom in Cuba called for Nov. 15.
The protests were also intended to repeat the massive and historic demonstrations of July 11. Thousands of Cubans took to the streets and raised their voices that day for the first time in decades to demand the end of the communist dictatorship established by the late Fidel Castro 62 years ago and today led by his successor Miguel Díaz-Canel.
According to the Center for Incident Reports of the Foundation for Pan-American Democracy (FDP), part of a Florida-based NGO whose mission is to publicize cases of abuse and persecution in Cuba, since Nov. 15, there have been 108 people arrested and 131 under surveillance in various cities on the island.
Given the situation, the bishops of Puerto Rico urged the faithful to also pray for their brother bishops’ desire for “a gesture of clemency” for “the imprisoned” to be fulfilled.
“We echo their call for non-violence and non-confrontation. We pray for all the Cuban people so that, in these moments of so much anguish, upheaval, pain, and material scarcity as well as a lack of rights and freedoms, they know how to embrace the Christian discourse of peace, love and hope in a Provident and attentive God,” they wrote.
Finally, they asked Our Lady of Charity for her intercession and sent a “strong fraternal and supportive embrace.”
“Together with you, we pray to Our Lady of Charity who has also made herself known in our homeland due to the devotion of so many dear Cuban brothers and sisters who live in our midst. May she accompany you in your concerns as pastors and intercede for a Cuba, joined together in brotherhood, unified and clothed with true hope,” the Puerto Rican bishops concluded.