Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

29 de enero de 1999, Cuba Free Press.

PAYAS SARDINAS SENDS LETTER TO HOLY FATHER By Efrén Martínez Pulgarón, Cuba Free Press.

HAVANA - The national coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement, Oswaldo Payás Sardiñas sent an open letter to the pope, responding to the letter John Paul II sent to the Cuban people commemorating the first anniversary of his visit to the island.

The coordinator's letter says, "Once more your words rekindle our hopes. We pray that the will to take the road which brings us closer to God awakens in the Cuban people. That is truly the road to liberation."

Payás Sardiñas says the Holy Father's historic trip "caused a change of heart in many." On expectations generated by the pope's visit, Payás Sardiñas says many are frustrated because they expected changes, "certain dispositions which did not happen. The internal opening of the government did not take place. Some people expected greater compromise from the church with regards to the defense of the fundamental rights of the Cubans; a church in a journey with its people, sharing their poverty and struggle is, we believe, a gospel demand for all of us."

Payás says he believes that in spite of its clarity, the true context of the famous words from the pope, "That Cuba opens its magnificent potential to the world and that the world opens to Cuba," has not generally been heard in its true sense. "Many could be confused in good faith, but also vanity, demagoguery and manipulation abound. In the end the people are submerged in the differences between the rich in power and the poor, with no news about the road to change."

In this sense he emphasizes that while Cubans are threatened with a future without awakening, they observe the avalanche of foreign politicians, businessmen and tourists, and a growing privileged class. Concerning the change he states that the gospel should enlighten it, but that it must be understood that "the people must make the declaration, claiming it as a right and journeying towards solidarity".

The coordinator qualifies John Paul's phrase - reminding Cubans that they are to play the chief roll in their history - as a teaching and a challenge for all Cubans. "We must exercise our role and assume our responsibility."

The letter reaffirms that the pope came to meet the people and join each Cuban with Christ, and that this objective no one may regulate or reduce to a political category.

Nevertheless, he says, Cuba is proof that "totalitarian power is able to condition, deform and alter the life of the human being." He believes the only way to recapture the realization of our dignity and that of our neighbor as children of God is through faith.

Payás Sardiñas says Cuba's political problem is also religious, because of the "de-Christianizing campaign that was carried on from power." The whole person was engulfed, in his or her political, economic, social and cultural dimensions.

"Power tried to eliminate God and become the idol which subjects all. The lack of faith is the real doping of a people. But if by denying God's gifts we have lost our liberty, rights and hopes, by re-encountering our Father in heaven, we will find the road to liberation once more. This road passes through reconciliation, which we have initiated and which will be accomplished with the solidarity of all Cubans."

Oswaldo Payás asks Peter's successor that when he blesses the people of the United States, not to forget the thousands of Cuban refugees who live there. Many wanted to be in Cuba in January of 1998 but the Cuban government did not allow it.

"They, together with our people with whom they are one, hope for a new Cuba where we will all live in fraternity as children of God."

Engineer Oswaldo Payás Sardiñas dated the letter in La Habana, January 23, 1999. The Christian Liberation Movement was founded by Payas Sardiñas in 1988.

Efrén Martínez Pulgarón, Cuba Free Press.

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