Cubans Aware of Their Choices - Primate

Article excerpt

Toronto

Archbishop Michael Peers had a quick reminder of the hardships faced everyday by Cubans when he visited the country recently for the synod of the Diocese of Cuba.

Just 24 hours before synod was due to start in Camaguey, the group was notified they would have to give up their meeting location to sugar cane harvesters. The synod moved lock, stock and barrel to Havana, several hours away, where the group had no facility for photocopying the large amounts of paper any church meeting inevitably produces.

Still, the church soldiered on and synod took place as scheduled. Perhaps most notable about the Cuba synod was a resolution expressing its "deepest gratitude" to the Church and Canadian government "for their solidarity towards our people."

Archbishop Peers, who is acting primate of the Anglican Church in Cuba, said he has seen dramatic changes in the country in recent years, including Cubans going into business for themselves, and the re-introduction of prostitution in urban areas.

"Because the collapse of the Soviet economic system left them without a market for their one crop, sugar, (Cubans) can't buy a lot of things they need from the outside - especially petroleum and foodstuffs," said Archbishop Peers. "One place they want to begin with the economy is tourism."

This means most locally produced meat and vegetables feed tourists, leaving skimpy fuel and food rations for Cubans.

Archbishop Peers said it is clear that Cuba has decided it will not go the way of the Soviet Union. …