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Christian group calls for continued protests


The Christian Liberation Movement in Cuba has called on people to continue to pressure communist authorities to hold a general election.

The country has seen demonstrations in its major cities joined by thousands of people to protest the unprecedented scarcity of essentials and the rising death toll caused by Covid-19.

A few thousand people took to the streets on July 11 in a rare anti-government protest in Cuba where some demonstrators chanted “Down with the dictatorship,” reported. The protests erupted amid growing anger because of long food lines and a shortage of medicines while coronavirus infections and deaths continued rising.

Eduardo Cardet Concepción, national coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement, known as MCL for its initials in Spanish, said thousands of Cubans were demanding freedom and an end to repression and misery.

“The MCL, as part of this people tired of oppression and injustice, is fully identified with their desires. We support our brothers and sisters of the Christian Liberation Movement and all Cubans who demonstrate peacefully, making use of this legitimate right,” the organisation said in a statement.

The group also demanded “the release of political prisoners, the annulment of the repressive laws against freedom, recognition of economic rights of free enterprise for Cubans, and recognition of each Cuban’s — inside and outside the island — right to vote and to be elected,” it said.

Catholic dissident Oswaldo Payá Sardinas founded MCL in 1988 to achieve peaceful democratic reform in Cuba. At the time, he said he was explicitly inspired by the Catholic social teaching.

Taking advantage of a loophole in Cuba’s constitution, Payá organised a collection of signatures to introduce democracy in the country. As a consequence, the movement was persecuted nationwide and 42 of its leaders were imprisoned during the 2003 wave of repression known as the ‘Cuban Spring’.

Payá and another MCL leader, Harold Cepero, were killed in a car accident in suspicious circumstances July 22, 2012.

During a speech on television July 11, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who also heads the Communist Party, blamed the United States for the unrest and called on “all the revolutionaries in the country, all communists…” to counter protests.

The MCL condemned violence from any side and criticised Díaz-Canel’s call for confrontation among Cubans.

(Adapted from Catholic News Service)

Photo by Ricardo IV Tamayo on Unsplash