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Why did Cuba's Vitral magazine close?

April 18, 2007 | 12:59 pm

There's been a lot of speculation on both sides of the Straits of Florida about the reasons behind the closing of Vitral, a self-described "sociocultural Catholic magazine" based in the western Cuban diocese of Pinar del Río.

Founded in 1994, and noted for its relatively independent editorial stance and willingness to discuss and even occasionally criticize the communist Cuban government, the 10,000-circulation magazine announced in April that it was shutting down because of a lack of funds.

Named for a variety of multi-colored glass used in old church windows, the magazine stressed the need for openness and a diversity of opinions about Cuba. According to an unidentified "church activist" in this story in El Nuevo Herald of Miami, the magazine was closed down because it had become a threat to "conservatives in the church and hard-liners in government."

But two days ago, a Catholic News Agency story quoted the diocese's bishop emeritus Jose Siro Gonzalez as saying that he hoped the closing would be only temporary, while insisting that the lack of such basic resources as paper and ink was indeed a real problem for the publication.

Posted by Reed Johnson in Mexico City