HAVANA.- The University of Havana granted Brazilian theologist Frei Betto the special status of Honorary Doctor of Philosophy in recognition of his loyalty to and permanent defense of Cuba and its Revolution.

The University of Havana granted Brazilian theologist Frei Betto the special status of Honorary Doctor of Philosophy in recognition of his loyalty to and permanent defense of Cuba and its Revolution.In the words of researcher Fernandez Martinez Heredia, Betto is worthy of this recognition because in the view of Havana University, he has undertaken methodical and tenacious studies, reflecting the high academic standards that the institution demands, in addition to possessing the civility and rebelliousness present in the most outstanding of its Cubans graduates.

The professor referred particularly to the student leaders Julio Antonio Mella (1903 – 1929) and José Antonio Echeverría (1932 – 1957) who stood out for their courage and ideologies.

He added that it was from this University – today a bastion of science, conscience, ideologies and patriotic and socialist formation -- that the group of young people who joined Fidel Castro in the Sierra Maestra to fight against tyranny, hailed.

He highlighted Betto’s conception of loyalty and friendship and his vehement defense of Cuba and the Revolution.

The Brazilian intellectual expressed his gratitude to the University and the Cuban people, with whom he has lived for 35 years, for the award.

Betto reflected that in many of the world’s most prestigious universities, people were prepared in ordered to go on to develop the atomic bomb and other nuclear weapons, whilst men such as Fidel Castro and others emerged from their classes and created a socialist revolution for our continent.

He recalled how he has been united with the Cuban people during recent moments in history that have defined life on the island, amongst them being the struggle with the U.S. imposed blockade and the campaigns for the return of the child Elian Gonzalez and for the release of the five Cuban anti-terrorism fighters who were imprisoned for more than 16 years.

He particularly expressed his admiration and respect for, and friendship with Fidel Castro, historic leader of the Cuban Revolution.

The University of Havana granted Brazilian theologist Frei Betto the special status of Honorary Doctor of Philosophy in recognition of his loyalty to and permanent defense of Cuba and its Revolution.This renowned intellectual (Betto) is the author of 53 books published in Brazil and abroad. In 1982 he won the Jabuti, the principal literary prize awarded by the Brazilian Chamber of Books, for his memoirs entitled “Baptism of Blood”. Throughout his life, many of his books have won prizes.

In 1986 he was elected Intellectual of the year by writers affiliated to the Brazilian Union of Writers and in 2003 and 2004 he was special advisor for Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and coordinator of Social Mobilization for the Zero Hunger Program.

He was also awarded the ALBA Prize for Literature in 2008; recognition for his body of literary works by the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas.

That same year he also received the Ones Prize – International Mediterranean Seal Recognition – for his trajectory and his efforts on behalf of the environment and international solidarity.

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