Hurricane Ian made landfall Sept. 27 in Cuba’s western region of Pinar del Rio, with sustained winds of 125 mph that took down the entire island’s electric grid.
Cuban bishops and Pope Francis asked for prayers as a major fire has caused at least one death, more than 100 injuries and left 17 firefighters missing in Cuba.
When Pope John Paul II arrived for a six-day trip to Cuba on January 21, 1998, he closed his first address to the Cuban people with a historic message: “May Cuba, with all its magnificent potential, open itself to the world, and may the world open itself up to Cuba.”
As Cuba prepares for a massive anti-government protest amid fears of state repression, the country’s bishops have urged calm and non-violence, saying any meaningful change will only come as a result of peaceful dialogue.
Many were shocked on Sunday when the Vatican police forced a group of 15 Cuban demonstrators to put down their Cuban flags at the Sunday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square. Although political manifestations have always been banned at the event, pilgrims often bring flags, hoping Pope Francis will make mention of their country.
Cuba’s ongoing political and social upheaval has shocked many observers as a sudden and intense summer storm. Across the island, in small towns and provincial centers, protests erupted like a squall line until reaching the capital Havana. Tropical storm “Liberdad” was lashing the island of Cuba while its winds of freedom were blowing across the Florida Straits, triggering major pro-democracy demonstrations in Miami and elsewhere.
With that faith and more hope, Cuban exiles gathered July 13 for Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Charity in Miami to pray for freedom in their homeland, two days after unusual and unexpected protests broke out in different cities on the island.
Four Cuban American bishops called on the international community to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Cuba and expressed solidarity with them following protests that erupted on the island nation starting July 11.
When Bishop Octavio Cisneros considers the situation in his native Cuba six decades after he fled the communist nation, he’s sad to see an unimproved situation and people living in dire conditions that are getting worse.
In February 2020, New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan embarked on a trip to Cuba at the invitation of the island-nation’s president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, causing a sensation in Havana. But it was a group of cloistered nuns in the island’s capital who captured the attention of Cuba’s noted guest, the cardinal archbishop of New York.