Pope Francis calls for Cuba ‘solidarity’, ‘dialogue’

Vatican City, Jul 18 (EFE).- Pope Francis on Sunday expressed his solidarity with the people of Cuba, where rare mass protests have rocked the communist regime amid acute economic crisis and the crippling effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am also close to the dear people of Cuba in these difficult times, in particular to the families who are suffering,” the pontiff said during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

The pontiff, who left hospital on Wednesday 10 days after undergoing colon surgery, called for dialogue between the government and protesters to achieve peace on the Caribbean island.

Thousands of Cubans took to the streets in several cities to protest against the government, the largest demonstrations in the country for decades.

The protests, which were heavily repressed by the government, come amid an unprecedented economic and health crisis, as well as severe shortages of power, food, medicine, and other basic products, a situation only made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.

The demonstrations resulted in numerous arrests, which could amount to hundreds, according to estimates by activists and human rights organizations.

The pope visited Cuba in 2015 on a tour that also took him to the United States, and met with former Cuban leader Fidel Castro at his home in Havana months before he died in 2016. EFE


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