Cuban Dictatorship Forces Jesuit Superior Priest to Leave Island

The government of Cuba forced this Tuesday (13) the departure of the superior priest of the Society of Jesus on the island, the Dominican David Pantaleón, by not renewing his residence permit to

According to Efe sources close to the Catholic Church, Cuban authorities decided not to renew this document after asking the priest to control critical political comments from Jesuit representatives on the island, and Pantaleón did not agree. .

The Cuban regime did not report on the situation of Pantaleón, who also served as president of the Cuban Conference of Religious (Concur). Neither the Cuban Catholic Church nor the Society of Jesus have taken a position so far.

Pantaleón, according to Efe sources, left Cuba permanently this month, but earlier this year the authorities informed him that his residence permit, which is annual and valid for the current year, would not be renewed.

The Jesuit superior priest’s later attempts to obtain the permit were in vain. Pantaleón then left Cuba temporarily, to return soon after with a three-month visa that has now expired.

The Dominican priest took a political stand on some occasions. The most notable was when he asked the authorities, along with other religious, for permission to bring help to the activists of the San Isidro Movement, on hunger strike since the end of 2020. The request was denied.

“It is not about left or right ideologies. It is about things as simple as the right to live, to express what one thinks, to discuss differences without ‘demonizing’ the other, to respect the dignity of everyone,” wrote Pantaleón on Facebook at the time.

Other members of the congregation have taken a more open stand in recent months, especially after the crackdown on last year’s July 11 protests, the biggest in decades. , and the subsequent court sentences of up to 30 years in prison.

Several people in the Catholic Church lamented the departure of the Jesuit Superior Father, like his Concur companion, Ariagna Brito Rodríguez, of the Sisters of Charity of Cardinal Sancha in Cuba.

“This should not happen. Those who must leave the country are those who use power to live like kings, at the expense of a slave people, punished, flogged and forced to flee,” Brito wrote on Facebook.

Pantaleón celebrated on Sunday spent his last Mass in Cuba, which was conducted by the Archbishop and Cardinal of Havana, Juan García Rodríguez.

The Society of Jesus is one of the largest organizations of the Catholic Church on the island, it operates parishes and educational centers and has about 300 employees across the country.

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