Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. - http://www.cubafreepress.org

July 14, 1999, Cuba Free Press.

ORTHODOX CHURCH PAYS TRIBUTE TO VICTIMS OF THE 13TH OF MARCH TUGBOAT SINKING By Efrén Martínez Pulgarón, Cuba Free Press.

HAVANA - On July 8 the Mission of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a member of the orthodox church of Cuba in the historic district of Havana celebrated a mass to pay tribute to the victims of the "13 de marzo" tugboat which was sunk by Castro's agents five years ago right in front of Havana's shoreline.

Many times throughout the mass, the names of the victims from this tragedy were read aloud and prayers were offered up for their eternal rest.

In his homily, Father Crespo Jiménez spoke of those who through their example pursue the Kingdom of God by defending human rights and in this he recalled the events concerning the tugboat, saying, "Today we remember the tragic, dramatic and sorrowful event of the sinking of the tugboat '13 de marzo' when men, women and children perished. The Chuirch offers up today its prayers and supplications for these victims. Today, the Cuban people remain consternated over this tragic occurrence".

The priest referred to the role the church plays in these difficult times: "Hope lives for a people that fights for the establishment of God's Kingdom amidst economic difficulties and conflicts."

The clergyman also said the church should be a participant in what he described as the "all-out battle against the kingdom of darkness."

He specified that the church today should, without fear and with a commitment to all outcasts - the poor, the have-nots and those who suffer unjust impisonment - "be a visible sign of hope based on justice and complete respect for the rights and dignity of every man."

After the commemoration, Father Crespo Jiménez offered this reporter his opinion on the tragedy "13 de marzo," saying, "The sinking of the tugboat was a sad event in the history of Cuba and it continues to effect all of us today and it moves us as a nation to a profound reflection, a very intense one, because the causes that brought about this event are still present in our midst today; they are a part of our national reality."

"The same dreams, desires, frustrations and yearnings for liberty that influenced those people to board the tugboat '13 de marzo' are still present in many Cubans, especially the youth, who improvise sailing vessels and launch themselves into an adventure towards liberty by means of the Florida Straits."

Crespo Jiménez called for the international community to continue watching closely this drama and the suffering of the Cuban people.

Efrén Martínez Pulgarón, Cuba Free Press.


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