Catholic journal criticizes dissidents who support embargo

In its latest edition, the magazine published by the Council of Laypersons of the Archdiocese of Havana criticized members of the opposition who advocate maintaining the economic sanctions against Cuba to accelerate democratic changes and guarantee individual freedom.

“Some people, both Cuban and foreigners, insist in asking important world centers of power to destabilize the Cuban government,” the publication Espacio Laical (Layperson Space) says in its editorial. “Cuba has a lot to change, but the protagonists of those changes cannot be the centers of power in certain strong and influential countries.”

The publication, headed by Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino, asks the centers of power to act “as friends who accompany us and not as judges who condemn us.” It also demands the government to exercise “a political evolution capable of expanding the opening process” and avoid “rigidities.”

It is not the first time that Espacio Laical has generated controversy. A year ago, it said that neither dissidents nor exiles have “clear and universal” projects for the nation’s future. It added that some (activists and dissidents) are following “agendas dictated from abroad.”

Such criticism coincides with presentations that some opponents have made in international tours through Europe and the United States.

The list of activists who have left Cuba temporarily includes blogger Yoani Sánchez and Antonio Rodiles, director of the State of SATS (an art exhibit). Also, the spokeswoman of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler; the director of the Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation, Elizardo Sánchez; and Rosa María Payá, daughter of the late opposition leader Oswaldo Payá, founder of the Christian Liberation Movement, among others.

Soler asked recently to maintain the U.S. embargo against Cuba and to limit travel to the island until Raúl Castro’s government show respect for human rights. Soler also rejected Castro’s economic reforms and qualified them as “cosmetic.”

Meanwhile, Rodiles said that this was the worst time “to lift the embargo.” And added that the disastrous state of the economy is forcing Castro to order “minuscule” changes in the economic system.

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