Rafael Cruz Dévora, a seminarian who was arrested on Monday after participating in protests of Cuba’s communist government, was released Thursday.
Protests took place across Cuba July 11-12. Protesters cited concerns about inflation, shortages of food and medicine, and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some protesters were beaten, and at least 100 were arrested.
Cruz, 26, was arrested at his parents’ home in Matanzas July 12. He was released July 15, having been fined for the crime of public disorder.
Fr. Rolando Montes de Oca, a priest of the Archdiocese of Camagüey, told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language news partner, that Bishop Manuel Hilario de Céspedes of Matanzas interceded to obtain the release of Cruz.
“He’s okay; tired, which is obvious, but he’s okay,” the priest added.
The seminarian was briefly in a protest, “calling on people to understand each other and asking the authorities not to repress them with beatings, to respect the right to demonstrate. That was the only thing he did and for that he’s in prison,” Fr. Montes de Oca said.
Another among those arrested in the protests was Father Castor Álvarez, a priest of the Archdiocese of Camagüey.
In response to the protests, the Cuban government announced July 14 it will temporarily allow those entering the country to bring food, hygienic supplies, and medicine without paying import taxes.
Fr. Alberto Reyes Pías, a priest of the Archdiocese of Camagüey, wrote on Facebook July 13 that the protests show the Cuban people are “worn out and fed up” with the communist government.
“Human beings are made for freedom, to the point that even their Creator doesn’t violate it. Human beings can be repressed, intimidated, threatened … and this can make, by a pure survival instinct, the person submit to slavery and even defend the one who is oppressing him, but freedom is inscribed in our genes. Years, even generations may pass, but there comes a time when the soul rebels and says: ‘enough,’” he wrote.
“For a long time,” the priest wrote, “the Cuban people have been showing signs of being worn out and fed up” and “they have been giving notice that the time of slavery is over.”
In his post, Fr. Reyes asked: “How is it possible that we have waited for so long?” and replied: “because they didn’t subdue us from one day to the next. They deceived us, manipulated us, blinded us, and when the first people began to wake up, they massacred them, shot them with impunity. And fear put its omnipresent face in our hearts and in our homes.”
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