A synod of African bishops was held in Rome a few days ago. The issues addressed were reconciliation, justice and peace.

Although the Cuban conflict is different in nature, the three issues made me reflect on their importance for us Cubans.

Reconciliation is essential for Cuba, and is the condition for justice and peace. The political schism has deeply divided us. Politics and ideologies have separated fathers from sons; brothers from brothers, and have turned friends into enemies. Those responsible for the cruelty of the regime are not only its leaders. We all carry part of the responsibility for what has happened in Cuba. Cuba desperately needs reconciliation, if we expect a different and promising future.

But there cannot be reconciliation without justice. But, what is justice? For many, justice is the equivalent of vengeance and is confused with the right to seek punishment and retribution. Justice in the Cuban conflict demands more than a simple concept of punishment and retribution. Justice seeks peace and rejects violence. Justice consists mostly in a careful balancing of injustices and their consequences.

For us justice is seeking the wellbeing of a people, avoiding that the processes of change that we hope for, will not be detrimental to those who have little. It implies to follow the road that most effectively accelerates change processes that Cuba badly needs. Faced with a confusing tangle of possible change scenarios, justice demands to strive not for perfection, because it perfection is impossible, but for the less imperfect, or for what results in the largest common good, or less damage.

Consequently, justice and reconciliation go hand in hand. Just as there cannot be reconciliation without justice, there can never be justice without forgiveness and reconciliation. And both will guide us to peace.

Peace in turn is the result of reconciliation and justice. It is the absence of fear and the abundance of hope. It is the joy and fraternity in the condition that perfects us as human beings. I was surprised to hear during the polemic Juanes’ concert for peace many people who said that there was no war in Cuba and that peace was not needed, when Cuba has been submerged in a virtual civil war for more than fifty years!

Cuba really needs peace and needs it badly. But we will only achieve peace if we learn to reconcile and to seek true justice. As Cuban exiles, who live and enjoy the benefits of freedom, we are responsible in part for seeking reconciliation, justice and peace. There will never be a more critical time for Cuba to need our support and love than the difficult times ahead. Will we be capable to act ethically and with the love that they will need?

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Date Title
11/10/09 Current Record