Cuba is, joy, sun, music …. A mixture that can explode over time and which goes far beyond politics. The small island contains diverse beliefs. As Cubans we are Catholic, Santeros, spiritualists … We are all those passions which are intertwined and connected when we put them into practise.

As a Catholic, I know my religion is not the only religion and I know it is not perfect. Since the freedom of belief of any individual ends where the belief of another begins, I don’t feel entitled to reject other religions. Respect is the basis of spiritual elegance. If the rites and rituals of others do not lead to evil actions, there is not the slightest reason for criticism or hostility.

Some say that the only truth is in the Bible, and we should not look beyond that horizon. Personally, I think you can believe in God, or follow Christ, and still look around from a personal perspective. We can feel ourselves to be free while attached to any belief.

God does not punish those who do not want to base their lives on the words of a creed or on any religion. I do not believe in a vengeful God. Wrongdoing reverts back to those who do or desire evil.

I believe in free choice, absolute devotion and the power of faith. I do not think that sermons alone can remediate the poverty in this world, or restore sight to the blind or give health to the sick. We need also to do good work, and effectively unite words and action.

The time in which we live requires Cubans to make a small sacrifice, give way to tolerance, open our hearts to embrace any faith even if it has no name, and above all, divest ourselves of the fear of putting on the altar the concept of freedom.

By Elizabeth Garcés