Political Prisoners of the Empire  MIAMI 5     



Havana. November 18, 2014

A dialogue for unity

Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers and a member of the Party Central Committee Political Bureau, on the 30th anniversary of the first meeting between Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro and leaders of the Cuban Inter-Faith Council, served not only to commemorate the date, but also to discuss current challenges facing the organization.

After the first encounter in 1984, considered to be milestone in relations between the church and State, the practice of holding systematic meetings between all religions and the leadership of the country has become a constructive tool to promote work and dialogue.

Joel Ortega Dopico, president of the Cuban Council of Churches - institutional leader of the Cuban inter-faith movement -, highlighted the importance of sustaining these relations and the role the organization has played, at crucial moments, for the Revolution, such as its “staunch opposition to the U.S. blockade against the Cuban economy, fighting for the return of Elián and the release of our five anti-terrorist brothers from the unjust incarceration they have been subjected to in the U.S.”

Among the participants were present six figures from the first encounter: Pastor Raúl Suárez, for example, recalled the different exchanges held subsequently and the words expressed by Fidel, who commented on the need for mutual understanding between religious and State institutions and Cuban society.

Meanwhile, Reverend Pablo Odén Ma­ri­chal stated that “protestant churches have been a means of cultural penetration in Cuban society” and given this reality he urged for “a greater strengthening of the ethical and behavioral work of the faith toward the community of believers and society, based on human and patriotic values.”

Among other priorities he emphasized greater participation of the inter-faith movement and churches in the search for solutions to problems facing Cuban society, such as an aging population, also stating that “we must revive Fidel’s idea of a strategic alliance between revolutionary Christians and Marxists, for which permanent dialogue is necessary.”

Díaz-Canel commented on the importance of transmitting this historic occasion to the current generations in order to strengthen dialogue and unity among Cubans. He described the event as an encounter of faith, friendship and memories, stating “it is touching to remember all those moments - lack of understanding at certain times which was later overcome through respectful dialogue.”

He also expressed the desire to address concerns about Cuba’s social and economic order, as well as challenges being faced in the struggle to strengthen and promote social values, “in order to prevent the establishment of a base of neocolonial and neoliberal capitalist reconstruction. This is the struggle we must assume, strip away all the pseudo culture, all the banality and selfishness and individualism,” he concluded.

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