Pope's statements on Cuba and Raúl Castro receive criticism in Miami

Exile leaders and Cubans in Miami criticized this Thursday (14) some statements by Pope Francis about Cuba and former President Raúl Castro, described as “regrettable”, “unfair” , “outrageous” and “painful”, in addition to accusing him of “scandalizing” Cuban Christians and “disrespecting” the Church.

In an interview with two journalists from the Univisión broadcaster, broadcast on the last day 11 in July, when asked about anti-government protests on the same date last year, Francis said that Cuba is a “symbol” for him and that he has “a human relationship” with Raúl Castro, Fidel’s brother. Castro and former president of the country.

“When His Holiness speaks, the people expect solidarity; when His Holiness speaks, we Catholics expect his charity; when His Holiness speaks, the world also listens,” said Rosa María Payá, daughter of Oswaldo Payá, late leader of the Christian Liberation Movement. A practicing Catholic, she did not hide her indignation, as did other Miami Cubans on social media.

Yulier Suárez, a Cuban with a Twitter account, posted a montage of Francis wearing a beret with a red star. like that of his compatriot Ernesto “Che” Guevara along with the communist insignia with the hammer and sickle on his cassock, under the caption: “The Red Pope. Believe in God and not in the Church.”

“Holiness: there are words and statements that hurt more than repression. Listen to the mothers of young people arrested in 11 July and not the powerful, we owe it to the Gospel”, wrote another on the same social network. Cuban citizen Leonardo Fernández Otaño.

Rosa María Payá, leader of the Cuba Decide movement, published a video in which she accuses the Pope of “leaving Cubans and political prisoners and their families defenseless” and of “abandoning the just aspirations of peace, freedom, social justice and democracy” on the island.

In the interview carried out by the journalists María Antonieta Collins and Valentina Alazraki, the pope spoke about many issues, but in Miami the only topic that resonated was the part referring to Cuba, which continues to reverberate four days after the broadcast.

The former -political prisoner Jorge Luis Pérez “Antunez”, who spent 17 years in prison and lives in exile in the United States, complained that instead of sending a message “asking the regime to stop the repression”, Francis spoke “affectionately” from Raúl Castro.

“If there is a country in Latin America where Christianity was persecuted, it is Cuba”, highlighted Antúnez, who indicated that, when he was imprisoned in the island’s prisons, he always had difficulties in having “access to a priest or a Bible”.

For his part, Orlando Gutiérrez, leader of the Cuban Democratic Directorate, stated that with his words Francis leaves behind “the brave priests and nuns who are supporting the people in their resistance” and forgets the “hundreds of people arrested and convicted” for peacefully protesting.

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