Dominican friar, liberation theologian, researcher, journalist and popular educator, Frei Betto is a tireless fighter for the just causes of the oppressed peoples of the world, a man committed to social change; the author of over 50 books of different literary genres and themes. His book Fidel and Religion was the result of 23 hours of conversation with the leader of the Cuban Revolution, for whom he feels a deep admiration.
As well as participating in a range of educational congresses, Frei Betto has been active in the fight against the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba, in the campaign for the return of Elián González and for the freedom of the Five anti-terrorists.
This Monday, in the Aula Magna of the University of Havana, he was awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa in Philosophy, during a ceremony presided over by Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, member of the Party Political Bureau and first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers.
Winner of the National Social Sciences Award, Dr Fernando Martínez Heredia, emphasized Betto’s commitment to the people of Brazil, noting that “The poorest and the workers of Brazil proclaimed him their doctor years ago, because he put his intellect and his actions at the service of those struggling against prolonged dictatorship and until now he has defended the rights of the Brazilian people.”
On accepting the honorary title, Betto noted that “The most outstanding Cubans were students at this university, from Félix Varela to Fidel Castro. Another name worth mentioning is the student president of the struggle against Batista, José Antonio Echeverría, who was president of the FEU, founded the Revolutionary Directorate, and on the day of the assault on the Presidential Palace, March 13, 1957, died fighting against the wall of this university.”
He expressed thanks to the university and to Cuba “for giving Latin America and the world men and women who embody the deepest human values.”
Also attending the ceremony were Dr. Rodolfo Alarcón Ortiz, minister of Higher Education; the advisers to the President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Abel Prieto and José Ramón Fernández; Dr Gustavo Cobreiro Suárez, rector of the university; Armando Hart Dávalos, director of the Martí Program Office and president of the José Martí Cultural Society, and His Excellency Cesario Melantonio, ambassador of the Federative Republic of Brazil.