HAVANA TIMES — Former editors of Cuba’s Catholic journal Espacio Laical (“Secular Space”) Roberto Veiga and Lenier Gonzalez have written a letter addressed to everyone interested in the events leading up to and the reasons behind their sudden resignation from their positions in the magazine where they debated about the island’s present and future.
To everyone interested:
In response to the media reaction prompted by a brief message sent to 16 contributors to Espacio Laical, we wish to share with you the following:
On May 2, we tendered our resignation as editors of the journal to Cardinal Jaime Ortega, through Gustavo Andujar Robles, who was recently appointed editor in chief of the publication. It was the third time we asked to resign in the past two years.
Yesterday, we were informed that our request had been granted by Ortega, who is also Havana’s Archbishop. Our two previous petitions had not been approved by the cardinal. On those occasions, we had decided to continue in our positions out of respect towards him.
In the farewell note addressed to those 16 individuals (close contributors of the publication and friends) that reached the press, we stated that we had “been freed from our obligations.” Initially, many news agencies reported that we “had been dismissed.”
We admit our wording gave room for misunderstandings and that it resulted in a very unpleasant incident, for, upon resigning, we had agreed with the publication to keep the matter in a low profile and not to speak with the press.
We wish to stress that we left Espacio Laical of our own free will and not as a result of any kind of dismissal. The phrase “freed from our obligations” referred to the fact the cardinal granted us our request.
The main reason behind our resignation as editors is linked to the controversy that the publication’s socio-political commentaries stir up in certain sectors of the Cuba’s ecclesiastical community.
This controversy has given rise to tensions that have been brought to bear on Havana’s Archbishop and ourselves. As such, we felt and continue to feel that it was morally inadequate to continue editing a publication that was causing divisions within the ecclesiastical community, where there are those who feel the Church should not involve itself “in politics” and those who believe it should not open itself up to all sectors of Cuba’s civil society.
In this connection and in view of the above, we came to the understanding that it was impossible to continue maintaining Espacio Laical’s editorial line as we had done to date.
We are moved that a private note addressed to friends, the email sent to these 16 individuals, became cause for concern for so many men and women in Cuba and abroad, people who immediately expressed their sympathy and concerns. Similarly, we regret the disproportionately aggressive tone of the Gustavo Andujar’s note, made public on Wednesday.
We humbly apologize if we have offended anyone over these past 10 years.
We thank all contributors to Espacio Laical, the true protagonists of this adventure, without whom nothing would have been possible. We have always considered ourselves their humble servants.
We also want to publicly thank Cardinal Jaime Ortega for having supported us in our work whenever he could. We also fondly acknowledge the work of our beloved Father Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, to whom we are grateful for his unwavering loyalty and for having pointed out the way and taught us the serenity needed to traverse it.
We wish the new editorial staff and editor in chief success, so that they may continue serving our country and the Church in the spirit of Pope Francis.
Lastly, we vow to Cuba, our beloved homeland, for which we will continue to work with the same passion of these past 10 years, imploring God and the Caridad del Cobre Virgin for their grace with great humility.