Skip to main content

Human Rights in Cuba

April 30, 2003
by Raymond L. Flynn

Pope John Paul II publicly released a letter that the Vatican sent to Fidel Castro a couple of weeks ago expressing dismay at Cuba’s crackdown on political dissent.

The pope personally appealed to Castro to show leniency with dissidents recently given harsh prison sentences and denounced the execution of the men who seized a ferry to reach the United States.

The letter, which was signed by the Vatican Secretary of State Angelo Cardinal Sodano, stated in part, “The Holy Father felt deeply pained when he learned of the harsh sentences recently imposed on numerous Cuban citizens. And even, for some of them, the death penalty.” Thus far, Castro has not acknowledged the letter.

Speaking at a political luncheon in Boston and also later on MSNBC national television on Saturday, I said, “Castro has a human rights record of shame. He has oppressed and persecuted many Cubans including those in the Catholic Church and priests whose only objective was to teach the world about God.” The U.S. Government and the international community have closed their eyes to this injustice and terror in Cuba for forty years.

Cuba sits only ninety miles off the United States coast, but it continues to be one of the world’s worst violators of human rights. When you see what has been happening in Cuba these many years, you have to be concerned about whether we have lost our moral compass. Our government policy of looking the other way when is comes to human rights abuses must be changed. When members of the U.S. Congress visit Castro in the future, they should demand that the Cuban leader recognize and respect the God given rights of all individuals. Our policy in Cuba has been a failure. Economic boycotts and expanding business opportunities have not worked.

Pope John Paul II has been a clear and consistent moral voice on human rights issues throughout the world, but the international community must be equally committed.

American Catholic Alliance is a leading national organization committed to human rights and religious freedom throughout the world.


Raymond L. Flynn is the National President of American Catholic Alliance, former Mayor of Boston and U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican. He is also a Contributing Editor to Catholic Online.

He can be reached at (617) 269-0909.


Catholic Online  CA, US
Raymond L. Flynn - Contributing Editor, 661 869-1000



Human Rights, Cuba

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article


Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment

Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Joel 4:12-21
'Let the nations rouse themselves and march to the Valley of ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12
Yahweh is king! Let earth rejoice, the many isles be glad! ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:27-28
It happened that as he was speaking, a woman in the crowd ... Read More

Saint of the Day

October 10 Saint of the Day

St. Francis Borgia
October 10: Francis was a young nobleman at the court of the King of Spain. ... Read More