Cuban dissidents write an open letter to the Pope

Below is the translation of an open letter written to Pope Benedict XVI signed by 165 members of the opposition in Cuba. This strongly worded letter calling to task the irresponsible actions of the Catholic church in Cuba is the same letter that Cardinal Ortega criticized a few days ago.


Your Holiness:

May God make it possible that you read this letter. In our prayers, we ask the Lord to manifest Himself in the solution that we are presenting to you.

Some of the Catholics that have signed this letter, and others who will perhaps add their signatures, are not in agreement with the posture of the hierarchy of the Cuban church and its intervention for the political prisoners. We find it lamentable and in certain ways, embarrassing.

For more than 20 years a group of peaceful dissidents has struggled for the reestablishment of democracy in Cuba; and our compatriots in exile for an even longer period. A correct mediation of the issue should have required the hearing of complaints from both sides and the mediators. Nevertheless, the solution of forced exile accepted by those who have been unjustly imprisoned for seven years—solely for their ideas—only benefits the dictatorship; with the exit of a considerable number of dissidents and their family members, it has practically become a small exodus. All of you have experience with forced exile when priests were expelled from Cuba during the 1960s.

If there is something that the government desperately seeks is the disappearance of the Ladies in White since they were not able to defeat the opposition with the imprisonment of the 75 in March of 2003. The repression, harassment, and the arbitrary detentions have continued in the past few days after the threats made on August 1st by President Raul Castro. And it is worth asking: Are the prisons being emptied only so they can be filled again?

There are more than enough examples, but it is sufficient to mention the repression against Reina Luisa Tamayo Danger, the mother of the murdered Orlando Zapata, who in her hometown, Banes, in the province of Holguin, is not allowed to attend mass unless she agrees to do so only with family members. The church hierarchy in this province visited her and asked her to do precisely what the government wants.

We respect the solicitations by the Church for the end of the “blockade,” but why does the Church not also ask—publicly—that the embargo the dictatorship has on the nation of Cuba come to an end? This embargo has lasted for more than 50 years and includes the liberties that the Church could enjoy as a community for all.

In this epistle we could make a large list of demands, but only one is the most important: That those who represent God before Cuban Catholics cease their political support of those that for over half a century have behaved as emissaries of Satan on earth.

Let us remember Matthew 19:16-22. Lord, what a wonderful situation the young, rich man had and what a sad end came to him because of his love for riches.

You can find the list of signatories below the fold.

1.? Aguirre Tamayo Vilma (Ciudad Habana)
2.? Alfonso Arteaga Ana Rosa (Villa Clara)
3.? Álvarez Sánchez Omara (Ciudad Habana)
4.? Álvarez Toledo Julio Elio (Ciudad Habana)
5.? Antúnez García Pérez Jorge Luis (Villa Clara)
6.? Antúnez Puentes Antibio (Granma)
7.? Argüelles Morán Pedro (Preso en Ciego de Ávila, Grupo de los 75)
8.? Arteaga Coello Joel (Ciudad Habana)
9.? Ascencio López José Lino (Villa Clara)
10.? Ávila Expósito Mariblanca (Holguín)
11.? Báez Sierra Luis Julián (Granma)
12.? Betancourt Morín Resni (Ciudad Habana)
13.? Bosch Alonso Orlando (Ciudad Habana)
14.? Bous Batista Juan Carlos (Ciudad Habana)
15.? Caballero Batista Caridad (Holguín)
16.? Caballero Oduardo Ángel Vicente (Granma)
17.? Cabrera Bichot Julio César (Ciudad Habana)
18.? Cabrera Castilla Geily (Ciudad Habana)
19.? Cañete Cruz Walter (Holguín)
20.? Carmona Ceballo Juan Alberto
21.? Carmona Ceballo Juan Carlos (Ciudad Habana)
22.? Carmona Fuentes Francisco (Ciudad Habana)
23.? Cartaya González Alberto (Ciudad Habana)
24.? Casas Duanes Eslay (Ciudad Habana)
25.? Castillo Ortega Víctor (Villa Clara)
26.? Castillo Villegas Diego Ernesto (Granma)
27.? Cedeño Vázquez Luis Silverio (Granma)
28.? Contreras Rodríguez Aramilda (Villa Clara)
29.? Cruz Meneses Ariel (Holguín)
30.? Cruz Sánchez Antonio (Ciudad Habana)
31.? Cuipel Camero Norberto Raúl (Ciudad Habana)
32.? Chávez Ramón Elio Enríquez (Granma)
33.? Díaz Esquivel Ernesto (Ciudad Habana)
34.?Díaz Rondón Martha (Holguín)
35.? Díaz Silva José (Ciudad Habana)
36.? Diéguez Núñez Alexander (Granma)
37.? Diéguez Segura Enrique (Granma)
38.? Echevarría Perdomo Neldo Iván (Ciudad Habana)
39.? Escobedo Morales Eberto Ángel (Preso político Toledo II, Ciudad Habana)
40.? Esquivel Acosta Damaris (Ciudad Habana)
41.? Esquivel Vieito Lourdes (Ciudad Habana)
42.? Estévez Estrada Tania (Ciudad Habana)
43.? Ferrer Espinosa Rolando (Villa Clara)
44.? Fonseca Quevedo Sarah Martha (Ciudad Habana)
45.? Fortún Martínez Blas Augusto (Villa Clara)
46.? García Gómez Gabriel Camilo (Ciudad Habana)
47.? García Guerra Manuel (Ciudad Habana)
48.? García López Yunieski (Villa Clara)
49.? García Vega Luis (Ciudad Habana)
50.? González Bonelles René Ramón (Ciudad Habana)
51.? González Estrada Yoandris (Granma)
52.? González Morera Carlos Gabriel (Ciudad Habana)
53.? Gordillo Pérez Yuniesi (Ciudad Habana)
54.? Guevara González Douglas (Granma)
55.? Guisado Paz Saraí (Ciudad Habana)
56.? Gutiérrez Campos Luis Jesús (Ciudad Habana)
57.? Hernández González Osmany (Ciudad Habana)
58.? Hernández Leyva Mario Alberto (Ciudad Habana)
59.? Hernández Reyes Oscar Antonio (Granma)
60.? Labrada Varona María Cristina (Camagüey)
61.? Lay Sangronis Zulema (Ciudad Habana)
62.? León Batista Norberto (Ciudad Habana)
63.? León León Ubaldo Manuel (Granma)
64.? León López Marelys (Granma)
65.? León Ramírez Clotilde (Villa Clara)
66.? López Almestro Amelia (Ciudad Habana)
67.? López Bañoubre Marcelo (Preso de los 75 en Licencia Extrapenal, Ciudad Habana)
68.? López Pérez Oscar (Ciudad Habana)
69.? Lorenzo Rodríguez Victoria Mercedes (Ciudad Habana)
70.? Mansellí Aguirre Giovani (Ciudad Habana)
71.? Marín Román Antonio (Villa Clara)
72.? Márquez Frías Santiago Emilio (Granma)
73.? Marrero La Rosa Roberto (Camagüey)
74.? Martínez León Manuel (Holguín)
75.? Martínez Ruíz Rafael (Ciudad Habana)
76.? Masillá Aguirre Rigoberto (Ciudad Habana)
77.? Mateo Rivera Mario (Ciudad Habana)
78.? Medero Arrozarena Ernesto (Matanzas)
79.? Mesa Cantillo Daniel (Holguín)
80.? Mesa Saborit Joan (Ciudad Habana)
81.? Mesa Saborit Joel (Ciudad Habana)
82.? Milián Pedroso María Hortensia (Ciudad Habana)
83.? Miranda Camejo Rancés (Ciudad Habana)
84.? Miranda de Hernández Juan Roberto (Ciudad Habana, Licencia Extrapenal Grupo 75)
85.? Miranda Rivera Saraí (Ciudad Habana)
86.? Moncada Almaguer Xiomara (Granma)
87.? Moreira Laffita José Antonio (Ciudad Habana)
88.? Moya Portieles Damaris (Santa Clara)
89.? Muñoz Domínguez Daniel (Ciudad Habana)
90.? Murcia Rivero William (Ciudad Habana)
91.? Nápoles del Valle Geolay (Ciudad Habana)
92.? Nicles Abad Yasmani (Ciudad Habana)
93.? Núñez Espinosa Omar (Villa Clara)
94.? Núñez Suásnabar Lucio (Ciudad Habana)
95.? Ojeda Suárez Gertrudis (Holguín)
96.? Oliva Quintán Dany (Ciudad Habana)
97.? Ortega Visoza Alberto (Ciudad Habana)
98.? Ortiz Chirino Efraín (Ciudad Habana)
99.? Ortiz Molina José Marino (Holguín)
100.? Ortiz Tamayo José Luis (Holguín)
101.? Ortiz Tamayo Reina María (Holguín)
102.? Osa de la Ceija Oscar (Ciudad Habana)
103.? Palenzuela Roig Maité de la Caridad (Ciudad Habana)
104.? Palenzuela Roig María de los Ángeles (Ciudad Habana)
105.? Palenzuela Roig María de Lourdes (Ciudad Habana)
106.? Paz de la Ramón Luis Elio (Granma)
107.? Peña López Yoanka (Ciudad Habana)
108.? Perdomo Vázquez Alberto (Ciudad Habana)
109.?Pérez Aguilera Iris (Villa Clara)
110.? Pérez Castañeda Maikel (Ciudad Habana)
111.? Pérez González Lázaro Antonio (Ciudad Habana)
112.? Pita Díaz Leonardo (Ciudad Habana)
113.? Pompa Brizuela Rafaela (Granma)
114.? Portal Belkis Bárbara (Camagüey)
115.? Ramírez García Almiriam Milagros (Villa Clara)
116.? Ramos Lauzurique Arnaldo (Preso Grupo 75, Prisión 1580, Ciudad Habana)
117.? Reyes Hernández Roberto (Ciudad Habana)
118.? Reyes López Frank (Villa Clara)
119.? Reyes Morales Alberto (Villa Clara)
120.? Ricardo Mir Yoandri Naoski (Holguín)
121.? Rivas Verdecia Soledad (Ciudad Habana)
122.? Rivera Rodríguez Alcides (Villa Clara)
123.? Roca Antúnez Vladimiro (Ciudad Habana)
124.? Rodríguez Báez Eduardo (Ciudad Habana)
125.? Rodríguez Bambino Yadira (Ciudad Habana)
126.? Rodríguez Jiménez Bárbaro Eusebio (Granma)
127.? Rodríguez Martínez Maritza (Ciudad Habana)
128.? Rodríguez Prieto Maribel (Villa Clara)
129.? Rodríguez Santiesteban Alexander (Holguín)
130.? Roque Cabello Martha Beatriz (Ciudad Habana, Licencia Extrapenal Grupo de los 75)
131.? Rosabal Castillo Jorge Manuel (Granma)
132.? Rosales Sánchez Juan Guillermo (Ciudad Habana)
133.? Rufín Palenzuela Medardo (Ciudad Habana)
134.? Rufín Palenzuela William (Ciudad Habana)
135.? Saborit García Julia Isabel (Ciudad Habana)
136.? Salgado Barbán Jorge Joan (Granma)
137.? Saltorio Leyva Edilberto (Holguín)
138.? Sandez Suárez Esteban (Holguín)
139.? Santana Almaguer Gean Lázaro (Ciudad Habana)
140.? Santana Pompa Madelaine (Granma)
141.? Sarmiento Pineda Julio Andrés (Granma)
142.? Siret Miranda Josué (Ciudad Habana)
143.? Sol del Laguna Maribel (Camagüey)
144.? Sol del Pérez Guillermo (Villa Clara)
145.? Soler Nieves Ernesto Leonardo (Ciudad Habana)
146.? Suárez Causa Andrés (Granma)
147.? Terry Pino dulce María (Holguín)
148.? Tomás Bejerano Emeterio (Ciudad Habana)
149.? Torre de la Montesinos Tania (Granma)
150.? Trillo Batista Eliéser (Granma)
151.? Trujillo González Jorge Luis (Ciudad Habana)
152.? Valdés Ascuy Osmany (Ciudad Habana)
153.? Valdés Cabrera Isis de la Caridad (Ciudad Habana)
154.? Valdés Márquez Emilia (Ciudad Habana)
155.? Valdespino Gago José Alberto (Ciudad Habana)
156.? Verdecia Domínguez Juan Carlos (Holguín)
157.? Verdecia Torres Juan Sacarías (Holguín)
158? Vergel Sauto Dagoberto (Ciudad Habana)
159.? Vergel Sauto Lázaro (Ciudad Habana)
160.? Vidal Pérez Yolanda de la Caridad (Granma)
161.? Vivas Bombino Benedicto (Ciudad Habana)
162.? Yanes Contreras idania (Villa Clara)
163.? Yero Leiva René (Granma)
164.? Zapata Tamayo Israel (Ciudad Habana)
165.? Zapata Tamayo Rogelio (Camagüey)

17 thoughts on “Cuban dissidents write an open letter to the Pope”

  1. “In this epistle we could make a large list of demands, but only one is the most important: That those who represent God before Cuban Catholics cease their political support of those that for over half a century have behaved as emissaries of Satan on earth.”


    The statement above nailes it as it is extremely powerful and speaks volumes about the Cuban Catholic Church top hierarchy behavior in favor of Cagastro’s tyranny.

    This letter as a whole was very well written (not too long) and much to the point and will put the Roman Catholic Church in such an awkward position that will force its top leaders to reassess their current positions and start backing away from their obvious support for Cagastro’s tyranny.”

    Remember my words, this letter will have an impact, it is about time it was written.

  2. As FreedomforCuba notes, the letter is powerful. I’m glad that it was written and I can imagine the perpetual smirk and gloating on Jaime “Sonrisita” Ortega falling off when he read the letter for the first time! Oh, that I could have been a fly on the wall!

    What the letter needs now is to be widely distributed. Since it it not a letter asking for the embargo to be lifted by a group such as ENCASA or a letter by a highly selected group of “dissidents” asking for a lift on the travel ban, I doubt that the MSM will publish it.

    May I suggest another one of those blog campaigns when everyone starts posting the letter in their personal blogs??

  3. Could you imagine the impact it would have if those in the RCC would sign on here in America?
    The window of opportuntiy is here. Will yopu just ignore it?

  4. “That those who represent God before Cuban Catholics cease their political support of those that for over half a century have behaved as emissaries of Satan on earth.”

    This should be a no-brainer for His Holiness. After all, one of his predecessors was pretty literal in this matter:

    “Pope John XXIII excommunicated Fidel Castro on January 3, 1962 in line with a 1949 decree by Pope Pius XII FORBIDDING CATHOLICS FROM SUPPORTING COMMUNIST GOVERNMENTS.”


    We await the response from Cuba-Experts, both here and in the Vatican.


  5. Forget it Humberto,
    It looks like loyalty to the RCC trumps freedom in Cuba. How very sad.
    This has regrettably shown me much about how important freedom for Cuba really is to my fellow Cubans who are Catholic. This is nothing short of cultish. Just amazing.

  6. When the Castro’s finally leave Cuba … the RCC needs to go with them.

    Cuba needs more Protestantism and thus more Freedom.

  7. George, so which sect would you prefer then? I’ve heard from several sources that there is a vibrant underground Baptist movement in Cuba presently.

  8. Various Protestant churches in Cuba have long been revoltingly, blatantly pro-Castro and pro-revolution, which means they have zero credibility and deserve zero respect. By comparison, the Cuban RCC has been relatively circumspect, although the mass for Castro was a grotesque, exceedingly stupid move. Then there’s groups like “Pastors for Peace,” and US churches like the Methodists, who stuck their nose big time into the Elian Gonzalez business to get him sent back to Cuba. In other words, it’s NOT just a Catholic thing. There’s plenty of blame to go around.

  9. George,
    Please do not confuse Independent Baptists with these sects. We reject the NCC and WCC and any group that promotes any outside the local church hierarchy. Mojito is quite correct. There is a vibrant underground church movement in Cuba that rejects any government control or association as well as any liberal control whatsoever. But you are correct regarding the Eastern and Western Convention system in Cuba as they as well as the Catholics are in bed withthe regime.

  10. Let’s all get this straight: there is no “religion” that is going to save Cuba from the dictatorship — it is Cubans who will save Cuba from the dictatorship.

    The Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Jewish, Muslim, and all the rest of the churches are simply organizations. It is the people behind those organizations, regardless of their religious beliefs, who will set Cuba free.

    When the Cuban people stop looking to “churches” to free them and start looking to themselves and their brothers, then Cuba will be free.

  11. The catholic church will never free Cuba and that is agreed. But the RCC will indeed help keep Cuba in bondage and that cannot be denied. We as Cubans attack magazines, newspapers, politicans,entertainers, farmers, etc because they support the castros and keep Cuba in bondage. But when the RCC does the same they quitely whimper away. This post is a prime example. Few dared speak when it was regarding the RCC, but when it comes to blaming other churches its the bandwagon. But its not any of the other churches who brokered the deal to export the opposition to Spain nor was it any other church that said masses for castro. It was not other churches that freed castro when he was safely behind bars.
    Today there is an article in the Herald about the Virgin de la Caridad and how much more the Catholic church is growing because of the deal brokered. It was a win win for the RCC and a lose lose for Cuba.
    Only God can allow Cuba to be free and not church no matter what the flavor. But its hypocrisy to say that you oppose those that hurt Cuba and turn a blind eye by inaction when the RCC does it.

  12. The RCC helped broker the prisoner expatriation deal because that’s the broker the regime chose and wanted. If the regime had asked the ass-kissing Protestant groups in Cuba to do the same thing, they would have been falling all over themselves to “help out.” Again, this is not a specifically Catholic thing. All sorts of supposedly humanitarian and Christian people, such as Jimmy Carter, have done Cubans no favors by trying to “help out.” I’m not trying to absolve the RCC of any blame or fault, but let’s keep things in perspective here. Bottom line: practically everyone and his brother has screwed Cuba over, including vast numbers of the “best” and most “enlightened” people worldwide.

  13. This is sounding more like an Obama argument. “Well the Republicans did it so I guess others can”.
    I am already all over the convention churches in Cuba as I disagree with their doctrine as well as their practices with the government. They are jineteras as is the RCC.
    Perspective is that Ortega and the RCC and its leadership are currently screwing Cuba and are removing the few dissidents that had any nerve to stand up to castro. This will weaken the opposition.
    Perspective is that since its the RCC doing it and many belong to the RCC they should stand and use their clout and voices directly at the RCC. Or are you saying that the RCC will not listen? If so then why so loyal to the RCC? I would walk away from my church in a heartbeat if I disagreed with what they were doing. Its called having convictions for what we believe. If Catholics do not stand against their own then why should anyone else bother? Do you think that the RCC will listen to those outside their church?
    Maybe we should drop all the posts that concern the RCC as they get a free pass to screw Cubans.

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