"Working together for a free Cuba"




Letter from Juan Carlos González Leiva to Bishop John H. Ricard
Chair of the Internacional Policy Committee of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Ciego de Avila, Cuba
August 12, 2004

Bishop John H. Ricard
Chair of the Internacional Policy Committee of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Honorable Sir:

It is a great pleasure for me to greet you and wish you blessings of peace, love, and hope in the glorious name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

The purpose of this letter is to let you know that, in spite of the tight censorship to which we Cubans are subjected, I have been able to read the communiqué of this past July 27th about Cuba from the committee over which you preside in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Because of the importance of the subject, I must respond to you from my position as a Cuban, a blind lawyer who continues to suffer the consequences of twenty-six long months of imprisonment and physical and psychological tortures that were carried out upon me day after day by Cuban military personnel. I respond to you as well as President of the Cuban Foundation of Human Rights, an organization that proclaims those rights which are based in Christianity and whose creation resulted in my imprisonment.

It was the second Congress of this organization, held on February 9, 2002, on a farm in La Juana, Piedrecitas, in the province of Camagüey, and in which 114 human rights activists participated, that not only expressed its total backing and support of the US embargo against the Cuban government but also requested the stiffening and the hardening of the policy of the European Union and other countries of the international community toward Cuba.

It became quite clear to the participants in this conclave that the only protection that we human rights activists and independent journalists in Cuba have is, precisely, public opinion, the international community, and their methods of pressure or punishment against tyrannies.

Freedom and democracy for Cuba will not come to us from American citizens or by means of people to people contacts. From within the island, our own strengths and our own weaknesses must take each other on, and in the end, the former will prevail.

I appreciate the generous efforts of all human beings of any nationality to help our country. As such, I appreciate yours in the name of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, although in my opinion, they are completely mistaken. The lifting of the embargo and its subsequent flexibility will not help to bring about solutions or improvements for us Cubans. American business has not brought about any freedom in China. We cannot confuse freedom with the fish of the Israelite’s during their slavery in Egypt.

This politics of erratic methods that dig the grave of our freedoms, rights, and power to reach our goals only succeeds in underpinning and supplying oxygen to a tyrannical regime on its deathbed and in further prolonging the martyrdom of an entire nation.

President of the Cuban Foundation of Human Rights under House Arrest.

Testimony given over the telephone from Cuba by Juan Carlos González Leiva.
Address: Honorato del Castillo #154, entre República y Cuba, Ciego de Avila, Cuba. Tel: +53-33-222235

Taped and transcribed by Laida Carro, President-Coalition of Cuban-American Women/ E-mail: Joseito76@aol.com 
Translation: Tanya Wilder, Human Rights Committee, Coalition of Cuban-American Women/ E-mail: tswilder@charter.net 
Website on Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva - www.jcgl-cfhr.info