CNA—Father Castor Álvarez was beaten and arrested in Camagüey while he was defending young protesters amid protests of Cuba’s communist government on Sunday.
Protests took place across the island July 11.
According to information confirmed by CNA’s sister agency, ACI Prensa, the priest is being held at the Montecarlo police station in Camagüey, accused of public disorder.
It became known July 12 that the government wants to process the priest for 96 hours for various charges. According to a source related to the Church in Cuba, Archbishop Wilfredo Pino Estevez of Camagüey “tried to see him this morning. He was called later when he was in the Archdiocese so that he went back to the police station”. The source also said that young Catholic people arrested yesterday from Camagüey and Florida, nearly 30 miles northwest of Camagüey, “are still imprisoned”.
The priest said that “there has been a lot of pressure inside the pot and this has exploded”.
“This that is happening in Cuba is unique, at least in the last six decades. I’m 40 years old and I had never seen something like this: all the protests and all the violent repression of the government”.
“The president has spoken on national TV and has said that the order to fight has been given and we are ready for anything”.
“He has obviously blamed the United States for the whole situation Cuba is going through and he has said that we must go against these protesters and has called on all communist forces to go against the protesters with everything”, the priest said.
“And yes, there has been a lot of violence against the protesters, who were peaceful“.
President Miguel Díaz-Canel on July 11 called “all the revolutionaries to take the streets to defend the revolution everywhere”.
“We are not going to hand over the sovereignty of our country,” the president said, adding that “the order to fight has been given, the revolutionaries should go out to the streets.”
In God’s hands: Hope and Pray
Father Montes de Oca said that “I don’t know what is going to happen or where we are going with all this. I wish something good could happen but I don’t know”.
“I hope that God puts his hand and in the end peace and justice triumph,” he said.
Communist rule in Cuba was established soon after the conclusion of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, which ousted the authoritarian ruler Fulgencio Batista.
Under communism churches and schools were closed, and priests were exiled or assigned to re-education camps. The Church was driven underground until religious tensions in the country began to ease in 1991.
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