On Sunday, hundreds of Cubans sought to enter St. Peter’s Square in Rome. Esteban Lazo, recounts some details of the event, via Twitter @LazoParodia.
Newsroom (26/10/2021 08:30 AM, Gaudium Press)The whole world looked on in a mixture of surprise and indignance at the massive demonstrations held this past July in various parts of Cuba; at the people asking for freedom and for the end of the oppressive regime.
This is something that has not seen since what has become known as the Maleconazo in 1994, during the government of Fidel Castro. The world was surprised by the demonstration; was outraged by the repression of the protests; but in the end was not surprised by the tyrannical iron fist apparatus that the government used to silence the many dissident voices.
“Homeland and Life” is the slogan used by the people in the demonstrations, in opposition to the regime’s slogan of “Homeland or Death“. There were those who also wanted the protests to take on a religious aspect, and carried images of their Patroness, the Virgin of Caridad del Cobre. Although Communism has had a great impact on faith, the shadow of a Catholic past still lingers over the island and persists in many hearts.
The opponents of the regime who remain free and and are not yet imprisoned – though discreet and growing in numbers – have already announced new demonstrations for 15 November. On the date when the demonstrations were originally planned to take place, 20 November, the government decided to hold military exercises. Certainly the government, in its imagination, will come up with something for the 15th. Yet, the demonstrators are determined.
Meanwhile, a group of Cubans – hundreds of them actually – came up with the idea to demonstrate Sunday at the Vatican to ask for the support of the Holy See in the struggle for freedom in their country. Eventually, the Guards allowed only 50 people into St. Peter’s Square, warning them that no slogans or flags would be allowed.
However, the publicity coup had already been dealt, as media around the world recorded Cubans walking through Vatican Square during the Angelus, chanting an updated version of the slogan that reanimated the July demonstrations: “God, Homeland, Life and Freedom“.
One of those demonstrators who entered the Square was courageous enough to unfold the flag for freedom and remain on his knees with it for a few moments, while the voice of the Pope could be heard in the background, meditating on the Reading of the day. A few seconds later, the Polizia approached and snatched the flag from his hands.
Meanwhile, on the outskirts of the Square, on Avenida de la Conziliazione, in a patriotic gesture of faith, many of the Cuban protesters had ‘taken a knee‘.
In short, the mood is ‘warming up’ for the November 15 demonstrations, which is no surprise to the world nor the regime. It is estimated that more than 500 of the July 11 demonstrators are still in prison at this moment, several of them already having received final convictions from the summary Cuban justice system.
– Esteban Lazo, El Yonqui (@LazoParodia) October 24, 2021
Compiled by Sandra Chisholm