Cuban editors, pressured to leave magazine, announce new venture

Roberto Veiga(left) and Lenier Gonzalez

HAVANA, (Reuters) – Two editors who helped turn a Roman Catholic magazine into a rare forum for open debate in Communist-ruled Cuba, then resigned under pressure this spring, announced yesterday that they will launch a new forum to air a broad range of views.

Roberto Veiga(left) and Lenier Gonzalez
Roberto Veiga(left) and Lenier Gonzalez

Roberto Veiga and Lenier Gonzalez said their new project would be called Cuba Posible. No start date was given for the venture, which they said would be primarily online.

The editors resigned from the church magazine Espacio Laical this spring, citing pressure from inside the church and raising concerns about one of the most dynamic, non-official areas of public discourse in a country where authorities monopolize the media, leaving little space for critical voices.

Besides the printed magazine, Espacio Laical published on the Internet and sponsored forums for public debate. The church said it will become less political and put more emphasis on culture and the arts.

Veiga and Gonzalez said they intend to create “a project of transitional change for our country,” citing the words of a priest who inspired them, the late Monsignor Carlos Manuel de Cespedes.

It would not be a political party or platform, but rather open to a wide range of viewpoints, Gonzalez said in a separate statement.

They also promised to promote “the responsible exercise of freedom” and “the continuous design of a democracy that is each day more complete,” in addition to education, the arts and better Cuban relations with the United States, Europe and Latin America.

“There are always fears referring to censorship, but we are not overly worried about it,” Gonzalez said, adding they would operate much as they did for 10 years with Espacio Laical.

“We are here to serve, to help and be brothers, not to polarize or destabilize,” Gonzalez said.

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