21.03.2012

In anticipation of the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI many of Cuba?s dissidents have been arrested over the past week. Although many of them have been released it is clear that the Cuban Government is sending a message to its citizens. This message continues to be one of fear and control. While only about 10 percent of Cubans are practicing Catholicism it is the desire of the Cuban Catholic Church that the visit by the Pope be one of spirituality and not that of the continued political issues that grip the small island country.

I firmly believe that the actions taken by the Cuban Government can only be viewed as an effort to control the Catholics and other dissidents from bringing light to the hardships that have persisted for years. I feel that the arrests of the members of the Ladies in White a week prior to the Pope?s arrival is in no way a coincidence and strongly reflects the Cuban Governments intentions of further repressing it citizens even in a time that should be celebrated.

Therefore, I stand with many of those around the world who have asked the Cuban Government to subdue the political action and threats and embrace the arrival of Pope Benedict. Not since John Paul II in 1998 has the Pope been to Cuba and I strongly feel that the Government should embrace this opportunity and welcome with open arms and a clear heart his visit. It is no secret that over the past few years the Catholic Church has played a significant role in Cuba. It is this fact that is closest to my heart as I remember the role that the Catholic Church played in freeing Poland from the grasp of Communism not so long ago.

I would like the citizens of Cuba to know that they have the support of the European people and that they continue to be in our hearts and prayers. The Cuban people have universal rights and I feel that in the near future they will be free from tyranny and in a position to freely form a government that is best suited for them.

© Jarosław Wałęsa 2015. Wszelkie prawa zastrzeżone.
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