by ACI Prensa
Matanzas, Cuba, Jul 17, 2021 / 06:01 AM
Rafael Cruz Dévora, a seminarian who was arrested Monday after participating in protests by the Communist government of Cuba, was released on Thursday.
Protests took place across Cuba on July 11 and 12. Protesters raised concerns about inflation, food and medicine shortages and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some protesters were beaten and at least 100 were arrested.
Cruz, 26, was arrested at his parents’ home in Matanzas on July 12. He was released on July 15 after being fined for disturbing public order.
Bro. Rolando Montes de Oca, priest of the Archdiocese of Camagüey, told ACI Prensa, the Spanish language information partner of AIIC, that Bishop Manuel Hilario de Céspedes de Matanzas intervened to obtain the release of Cruz.
“He’s fine; tired, which is obvious, but he’s fine,” added the priest.
The seminarian briefly demonstrated, “calling people to understand each other and asking the authorities not to beat them down, to respect the right to demonstrate. This is the only thing he has done and for that he is in prison, ”said Fr Montes de Oca.
Father Castor Álvarez, a priest of the Archdiocese of Camagüey, was also among those arrested during the protests.
In response to the protests, the Cuban government announced on July 14 that it would temporarily allow people entering the country to bring food, hygiene products and medicine without paying import taxes.
Brother Alberto Reyes Pías, priest of the Archdiocese of Camagüey, wrote on Facebook on July 13 that the protests show that the Cuban people are “exhausted and fed up” with the Communist government.
“Human beings are made for freedom, so much so that even their Creator does not violate it. The human being can be repressed, intimidated, threatened … and this can lead, by pure survival instinct, the person to submit to slavery and even to defend the one who oppresses him, but freedom is written in our genes . Years or even generations may pass, but there comes a time when the soul rebels and says ‘enough is enough’, ”he wrote.
“For a long time,” wrote the priest, “the Cuban people have shown signs of exhaustion and weariness” and “he announced that the time of slavery was over.”
In his message, Fr. Reyes asked: “How is it possible that we have waited so long? and replied, “Because they didn’t submit to us overnight.” They deceived, manipulated, blinded us, and when the first people started to wake up, they massacred them, they shot them with impunity. And fear has put its omnipresent face in our hearts and in our homes.
The priest regretted that people had lived this way “for years, hiding, pretending and fleeing at the first opportunity, leaving many times those who dared to raise their voices of freedom on their own at the mercy of evil despite that they did it on behalf of all.
On July 13, four Cuban-American bishops expressed their support for the protests in Cuba.
“We Cuban-American bishops join in solidarity with the Cuban people in their quest for answers to their human rights and their needs. We are deeply disturbed by the government’s aggressive response to peaceful protests, recognizing that “violence breeds violence”, ”they wrote.
“Such a reaction seems to negate the basic Cuban principle of having ‘una patria con todos y para el bien de todos’ (a homeland with all and for the good of all). We stand in solidarity with those detained because they have expressed their opinions. “
Cuban-American bishops said the protesters’ “song of” Libertad “underscores their desire that every Cuban citizen can enjoy basic human rights, as recognized as part of our human dignity by the United Nations, and defended for centuries by the Catholic Church in its social teaching.
“As Cubans and bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States, we are always aware of the constant suffering and frustration of our brothers and sisters on the island. We recognize that while hundreds of thousands of people have felt the need to emigrate, in order to enjoy basic human rights and a future full of possibilities, those who do not – by choice or inability to do so to do – as Cubans in Cuba, must be actors of their future and their aspirations. The right and courage of the Cuban people to make their voice heard publicly, rejecting their fear of repression and revealing genuine solidarity as a people, is recognized and applauded. “
The bishops called “governments and all charitable organizations to work together to help in this urgent humanitarian crisis for the good of the suffering Cuban people, especially the sick and the poor. We salute the care of Caritas Cubana, as it continues to provide – with ever-scarce resources – a response to the basic human needs of the island’s inhabitants.
“As always, with our brother-bishops in Cuba, and our brothers and sisters inside and outside the island. We continue to trust the maternal gaze of the patroness of Cuba, Our Lady of Charity, ”they concluded.
Communist rule in Cuba was established shortly after the conclusion of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, which overthrew authoritarian leader Fulgencio Batista.