On May 22, 2010, the Rev. Miguel Angel Loredo provided the blessing at the start of a march for Cuban freedom in Tampa, Fla. It was a warm day, but Father Miguel sat stoically and without complaint in his wheelchair, dressed in the brown woolen garmets of his Franciscan order.
After all, as a political prisoner in the Castro gulag, he had suffered -- and survived -- much worse.
Father Miguel, a symbol of all those who have suffered in the gulag without sacrificing their principles, died Saturday evening of cancer in St. Petersburg, Fla. He was 73.
Franciscan priest Miguel Angel Loredo, a symbol of Cuba's political prisons, died this past Saturday from cancer in St. Petersburg, FL at the age of 73.
Father Loredo died at 5:40 pm at the Bon Secours Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in St. Petersburg, where he was admitted several weeks earlier. His condition became worse due to renal and cardiovascular complications. Seventeen days earlier, he had asked that dialysis be suspended as he consciously prepared himself for death.
With his death, a living testimony of the confrontation of the Catholic Church against the Fidel Castro regime disappears. He was a tireless promoter of democratic liberties on the island, and a spiritual pillar in the Cuban exile community.
"He was a very courageous man, standing firm in his principles and faith, who never ceased raising his voice to denounce the horrors he personally experienced in the prisons of Cuba," recalled Abel Nieves Morales, who spent years with Loredo in various Cuban prisons. "All of his fellow inmates in the political prison will continue to need him, and we will miss him very much."
In this video, Father Miguel describes one the horrors he witnessed while in prison: