Wednesday, October 27

The Cuban bishops call for “dialogue and negotiation between those who have different criteria” | International

Benedict XVI prays in a church in Santiago de Cuba last year.
Benedict XVI prays in a church in Santiago de Cuba last year.ROMAN OBSERVER / REUTERS

The Cuban bishops called this Saturday on the occasion of their Christmas message to bring together opposing positions. At a time of growing social demand for understanding and freedom of expression, twelve prelates of the island, including Cardinal Juan de la Caridad García Rodríguez, archbishop of Havana, ask that “intolerance give way to a healthy plurality, to dialogue and the negotiation between those who have different opinions and criteria ”. “As pastors we look at a tired and overwhelmed people,” laments the letter, which is addressed to “all Cubans” and expresses concern about “material deficiencies, spiritual fatigue, insufficient personal, family and national finances” aggravated in the last months due to the pandemic.

The episcopal conference lists in a wish list or good news what it considers Cuba’s priorities. In addition to the desire for dialogue to open up, that “things change for the better and in peace”; that “the stress to get food becomes a serene sharing of daily bread with the family”, and “that violence, confrontation, insult and disqualification be avoided to create an environment of social friendship and universal brotherhood, as we invites Pope Francis ”. The message also requests “that the announced readjustment of the national economy, far from increasing the concerns of many, help everyone to support their family with a decent job, with sufficient salary and with the always necessary social justice”; “That we Cubans do not have to look outside the country for what we should find inside; “That we do not have to wait for them to give us from above what we must and can build ourselves from below”; and that “all blockages, external and internal, cease.” Finally, the letter proposes “to give way to creative initiative, to the liberation of the productive forces and to laws that favor the initiative of each Cuban.” “In this way each one will feel and be able to be a protagonist of his life project and, in this way, the nation will advance towards integral human development”, the bishops continue.

These lawsuits come amid the usual smear campaigns against critics and after the Government of Miguel Díaz-Canel announced a package of economic measures that regulates monetary unification and sets a common exchange rate throughout the island of 24 pesos per dollar. At the end of November, there was also a particularly significant episode when dozens of artists, intellectuals, teachers and young people met at the doors of the Ministry of Culture to demand dialogue and an end to harassment of critical organizations such as the San Isidro Movement, whose headquarters was abruptly evicted by the authorities during a confinement.

The bishops recall that, in this context, “in addition to the solution proposals provided by the country’s authorities, many others have been expressed, the result of the genuine love and commitment of the Cubans […]. This diversity of suggestions is rich and is a sign that Cuba is an entrepreneurial society rich in talents ”. “It seems to us that all the proposals must be listened to and heeded,” continues the letter, which refers to the words of Jorge Bergoglio: “The lack of dialogue implies that no one, in the different sectors, is concerned about the common good, but by acquiring the benefits granted by power or, in the best of cases, by imposing their way of thinking ”.

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