To be Catholic in Cuba

Fidel Castro has died. Perhaps now, he’ll get a taste of what he never seemed to know or extend in his lifetime: mercy.

Read this 2003 article from America: “Cuba’s Catholic Dissident: The Saga of Oswaldo Paya.”

Oswaldo Payá, in fact, is the first Cuban dissident ever to be compared with the likes of Lech Walesa. It’s a premature likening, to be sure, especially since Castro essentially put Payá’s top management out of commission last March with one of his most severe crackdowns in decades. But the fact that Castro did not jail Payá [means] even Castro realizes what an international outcry that would provoke is in itself proof that Payá is an unprecedented irritant for the Cuban regime.

Just as important, however, and something that has gone largely and strangely unremarked upon in my profession, is the Catholic faith that fuels Payá’s mission. Even less noticed, I believe, is the way Payá’s mission has in turn helped strengthen a once moribund Cuban Catholic Church. This, the 51-year-old Payá told me in a recent interview, has finally become a duel between power and spirit in Cuba.

Find the full article at this link.