A Cuban-American bishop has spoken out in strong terms about the repression of the people in his homeland.
“Our people, the Cuban people, helpless as they are, are being massacred by the tyranny of the Cuban regime,” Bishop Manuel A. Cruz, auxiliary bishop of Newark, New Jersey, said at a prayer vigil July 18. “Today we say ‘enough is enough’ to that genocide.”
Bishop Cruz spoke a week after thousands of protesters took to the streets in cities across Cuba, voicing their frustration with their extremely poor conditions and calling for a change to the six-decade-long communist government. There have been reports of harsh responses to the protests on the part of government forces, including beatings and arrests.
More than a dozen clergymen from the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey, along with the Cuban and Latino community, gathered in solidarity for the people of Cuba during the prayer vigil, held at St. Joseph of the Palisades Parish July 18 in West New York, New Jersey. The clergymen included Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark.
“We need to break the silence and be heard,” said Bishop Cruz. “In our hearts, there is a grief that cannot be spoken. There is a pain that goes on and on as we scream for freedom, and freedom does not yet come.”
Bishop Cruz was also one of four Cuban-American bishops who called on the international community to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Cuba and expressed solidarity with them following the street protests.
“We call on international governments and all charitable organizations to collaborate in assisting in this urgent humanitarian crisis for the sake of the suffering people of Cuba, especially the sick and the poor,” they wrote in a joint statement July 13.
In addition to Cruz, the signers, who were born on the island or have Cuban heritage, were Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez of Philadelphia; Bishop Felipe J. Estevez of St. Augustine, Florida, and retired Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros of Brooklyn, New York.