The former editors of the Catholic magazine “Espacio Laical” (Lay Space) on Wednesday (June 11) told The Associated Press in an e-mail that they had quit because of the divisive effect the publication was having on the ecclesiastical community.
The e-mail from Roberto Veiga and Lenier González amounted to a “mea culpa,” a plea of guilt, since, as the two top editors, they decided what articles would be published in the magazine. (For background, click here and here.)
According to the AP, the journalists said that they had submitted their resignation to Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino on May 2, through the magazine’s director, Gustavo Andújar Robles.
“It was the third time in the past two years that we asked to be released,” the e-mail said. “Yesterday, we were informed that it had finally been accepted by the Archbishop of Havana [Ortega]. Our two previous petitions had not been approved by the Cardinal.”
“The principal motive that led us to request our dismissal as editors was related to the controversy generated in specific sectors of the ecclesiastical community by the socio-political profile of the publication.”
“That problem has been the cause of the tension that has projected on the figure of the Cardinal-Archbishop and on ourselves. In that sense, we believed opportune — and still think so — that it was not morally proper to continue to lead a publication that provoked division within the ecclesiastical community itself.”
In the past, Espacio Laical has published articles that could be interpreted as critical of the Church, the government and society at large. Those articles, the e-mail implied, may have irked “those who think that the Church should not meddle in politics and those who believe that it should not open its spaces to all the actors in Cuba’s civilian society.”
“In that sense […] we understood the impossibility of maintaining the editorial course of the magazine Espacio Laical the way it has been maintained until now,” the journalists wrote.
Referring to a statement by director Andújar, to the effect that “nobody forced them to resign” and that “nobody is indispensable,” Veiga and González lamented its “aggressive and disproportionate tone.” (For the Spanish text of Andújar’s statement, click here.)
On the other hand, they thanked Cardinal Ortega “for supporting our management as far as he could.”
[Photo above from left to right: Lenier González; the Rev. Yosvani Carvajal, director of the Félix Varela Cultural Center; Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino; Roberto Veiga.]