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Rome Reports

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Priests and lay people arrested for protesting in Cuba

Thousands of Cubans took to the streets on Sunday, July 11, calling for freedom and an end to communism.

Archdiocese of Camagüey (Cuba)
“It was like an exploding pot after so many years of repressing that desire to say what they think and shout what they feel. Finally, many did. The government's answer was immediate. The president, Miguel Díaz-Canel appeared on television, calling all communists to the streets, to combat. 'The order to fight is given,' said the government, and a very strong wave of hatred and violence was unleashed.”

Fr. Ronaldo reports that a number of lay people and priests who joined protesters in the streets have also been arrested. 

A young seminarian, Rafael Cruz Debora, was released and fined after being detained on Monday in the province of Matanzas.

Archdiocese of Camagüey (Cuba)
“He was violently arrested on Monday morning, with 15 police officers, 15 military men. They showed up at his house in three police cars, and with a lot of verbal and physical violence, they attacked this family and took their son. Nothing was known about him for the first seven or eight hours after he was arrested. The situation is very tense. It's very tense.”

The Catholic Bishops' Conference in Cuba has called for reconciliation and dialogue. Fr. Ronaldo says Cuba needs support from the international community.

Archdiocese of Camagüey (Cuba)
“We need international support. We need the world to see what the Cuban people are living and suffering: a lack of freedom and a lack of opportunities. We need the world to see their need to protest justly and peacefully, so that this violence can end, so that the people can be heard, so that Cuba can have the dignified future it deserves.”

Anti-government protests of this magnitude are rare in Cuba, where unauthorized public gatherings are illegal.