Cuban priest: Something \'profound\' is happening

Recommended Posts

Cuban priest: Something 'profound' is happening

A prominent Cuban priest said at FIU that Cuba is going through a historic moment that could lead to profound change.

Posted on Fri, Feb. 22, 2008Digg AIM reprint print email


An outspoken Catholic priest whose church in Cuba was recently raided by state security agents said in Miami on Thursday that ''something very, very profound'' is happening in Cuba and that Fidel Castro's resignation as president this week may spur people to demand wider freedoms -- whether the Cuban regime wants to loosen control or not.

Even if the post-Fidel Castro government does not allow more liberty, the Rev. José Conrado Rodríguez said, Cuban civilians and church leaders likely will push for ''spaces'' in which to act more freely.

Rodríguez's remarks during the first day of a two-day conference on Cuba at Florida International University provided the first reaction by a prominent member of the Cuban Catholic Church about Cuba's new political situation.

Castro resigned Tuesday and the legislative National Assembly is scheduled to meet Sunday to select the island's next president -- possibly Fidel's brother Raúl.

Rodríguez gained further notoriety when Cuban police and state security agents on Dec. 4 raided his church, St. Teresita, in the eastern city of Santiago firing tear gas and dragging 18 university students to jail.

Speaking at an FIU panel discussion on the Catholic Church in Cuba, Rodríguez called the raid a ''terrorist pachanga'' or party and ``authentic state terrorism.''

During the question-and-answer period, Rodríguez was asked whether the Catholic Church in Cuba may help spur more freedom in Cuba in the aftermath of Castro's resignation. He said whether or not the Cuban government allows more freedom, the Cuban people have reached a point in which they will take steps on their own to secure more freedoms.

''Evidently, a new time is beginning,'' Rodríguez said, ``but only if we want it to be so, only if we decide it to be so, that this time be truly new and truly different.''

He added: ``The church has not been given space, and the people have not been given space, but the church is conquering space and the people are conquering space. It is not a question of whether they want to give it to us or not. We are going to take it anyway. I think the hour has arrived and we can all unite in that common effort.''

In answer to another question about his analysis of the impact of Castro's retirement, Rodríguez indicated that beyond the resignation Cuban people seem more willing to take action on their own to win more freedom of action.

''We don't know if there's going to be an opening or a closing,'' he said. ``For 49 years we have had the presence of one single ruler, very strong. Only time will tell. Let's see what happens. Let's see what the National Assembly decides next Sunday.

``But the Assembly is not the people of Cuba. It is only part of the people. But one sees more and more that the people are taking more of a role for themselves . . . there is an awakening. There is more questioning. There is a different timing to which we were not accustomed . . . something very, very profound is happening . . . a very interesting time is at hand.''

Rodríguez said Castro's resignation was not the only significant event in Cuba these days that portends change. Rodriguez said the arrival in Cuba this week of Vatican Secretary of State Tarcision Bertone could also help spur the Cuban government to bring about change. Cardinal Bertone traveled to Cuba on the 10th anniversary of the historic visit by Pope John Paul II.

''It may lead to new opportunities,'' he said.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

Community Software by Invision Power Services, Inc.