Friday, June 30, 2006

Viva Cuba! Viva Cristo Rey (Rogelio Gonzalez Corzo)

When Fidel Castro came to power, Rogelio Gonzalez Corzo, a young man and a member of the Cuban Catholic lay association of students and young professionals, the Agrupacion Catolica Universitaria, became disillusioned by Castro’s redirection of the Revolution and realized that the government was marching swiftly toward Communism. The Catholic Church in Cuba did not hesitate to criticize the new government. It made it clear that it rejected communism and the majority of Catholics began to actively oppose the enthronement of the communists. The pro-communist government had hardened its attitude toward religion and embarked on an increasingly strident and aggressive campaign against the Church. Many young Catholic intellectuals and students believed that the time for armed resistance had finally arrived, and began to plot against the government. Among those students was Rogelio, who dreamed of a Christian civilization in Cuba. He joined the underground resistance group and took the name “Francisco” as his identity. Because of is involvement with the resistance, he had very little time to be with his fiancée, Dulce.
Rogelio lived through six months of the fighting, minute by minute, never resting, to provide the resistance that he felt God had prepared him for. His spiritual depth and stature came to the fore during these darkest of times. In many respects he had to set himself apart from the world in which he had previously lived. Rogelio, or “Francisco,” was one of the most important men in the resistance, a prime target of Cuban intelligence which recognized his prowess and ability.

Rogelio was arrested on the afternoon of Saturday March 18, 1961. A number of leaders of the underground were meeting in a supposedly “safe house” to discuss plans to intensify the sabotage campaign that had been rocking the country. But since the previous fall, they were already being surrounded by Castro’s heavily armed agents.

Rogelio Gonzalez Corzo spent his last hours in a secluded section of La Cabana known as the “chapel.” Here an eyewitness has reported that he spent his time giving Christ’s comfort and strength to the other six prisoners also condemned to death.

On the morning of April 20, Rogelio was executed in la Cabana, after a summary and secret trial. His last words were “Viva Cuba, Viva Cristo Rey!” He began a final Viva to the Agrupacion Catolica Universitaria, but the discharge of bullets interrupted that Viva and ended his earthly life. He was among the many lay faithful who died proclaiming their faith.


Post a Comment

<< Home