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Pope’s Visit to Cuba - Pros & Cons

Pope Backs Capitalism

Mr. Guimaraes,

I think you are wrong on your analysis of Pope Benedict’s trip to Cuba. You pride yourself on being objective, but in this case you are clearly myopic, seeing only the bad. We can see the good spiritual results of his trip with the recent announcement that Cuba will make Good Friday a holiday in response to the Pope’s request. Surely this is something that should be considered as good fruit of the trip. Also, before his trip Cuba showed good will by releasing scores or the right wing dissidents from Cuban Jails. Isn’t this a good fruit?

Also, during the whole visit, the people saw Raul Castro, Cuban officials and the Cuban media referring to Ratzinger as His Holiness and even Supreme Pontiff. This will have a good effect on the faith, surely? Won’t you admit it?

Also the Pope was backing Capitalism by approving Cuba’s opening the economy to private property relations and global corporations. Pope Benedict pressed for an expansion of free market measure various times, as he had done in Mexico a few days before. (Just in the last year, the number of private enterprises in Cuba has exploded, fyi.) The Pope also made many anti-communist and anti-Marxist declarations and criticisms which you ignored? Is that objective?

After John Paul II’s trip in 1998, the Church was allowed greater freedom and membership in the Cuban Communist Party was opened to Catholics. Today the Catholic Church plays an important role in Cuban politics and is the only independent institution allowed to operate without the involvement of the Cuban Communist Party. This is the good fruit of Pope John Paul II’s wisdom and insight, now followed by Pope Benedict XVI.

In his homily in Santiago, Benedict XVI told Cubans to re-dedicate themselves to Christ, and, on that basis, build a better society. That is a most worthwhile message, how could he do better? He saw the situation in a positive light, rather than the negative light you look at everything under.

Even Fidel Castro said of this Pope, “He is a good man.”

I can’t understand why you try so hard to paint our Holy Father as evil and a Communist. You aren’t fooling anyone, not even Fidel Castro.


The Editior responds:


I may respond to you letter if you will substantiate with due proof your affirmation: "After John Paul II’s trip in 1998 ... membership in the Cuban Communist Party was opened to Catholics."

Is this openess documented in any written source or do you know it just because you are - or one of your friends is - a Catholic and a member of the Cuban Communist Party?


Atila S. Guimarães

Reactions from Cuban-Americans

Mr. Guimaraes,

Thank you for pointing out that the Pope was NOT saying that Communism no longer works when he told reporters that “the Marxist ideology as it was conceived no longer responds to reality.” In the context of the rest of his visit, he clearly was not condemning Communism and, as you point out, had harsher words rather for Capitalism and the US embargo than for the Marxist ideology.

Others also were critical of the visit. Here are a few quotes I found in the press to share with your readers. Please note the absence of any Catholic Church representatives. Even the Catholic traditional press is silent – except for TIA. Thank you for pointing out the truth about this Pope, who is NOT conservative, much less traditional.

1. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), told The Huffington Post:

“I’m exceedingly disappointed. He refused to meet with any members of the opposition. He refused to speak out in any real way against forced abortions. He refused to speak out against the human trafficking that is sponsored by the regime. He refused to condemn the human rights violations in any meaningful way. And it cannot be said that he’s not aware of those issues ... He is aware of it because a lot of us have made him aware of it.”

2. Similarly, Sylvia Iriondo, the president of Mothers Against Repression (M.A.R. por Cuba), said she took issue with the pope for finding time to meet with Fidel Castro, but not with dissidents:

"His agenda is flexible enough to accommodate a tyrant," she said, "but not enough to receive the Ladies (in White) for even one minute."

3. Giancarlo Sopo, a Coral Gables, Fla., marketing executive, told the Miami Herald:

“The Ladies in White have been beaten, dragged through the street and humiliated in state orchestrated acts. They deserve nothing less than a few minutes to meet with the Pope.”

4. Conservative radio talk show host and exile activist Ninoska Perez echoed Sopo's complaints, saying that the Pope's visit failed by not shining a light on repression of the island or the way Cuban police dragged away a man who cried out "Down with Communism!" during the Santiago Mass:

"I believe that that complacent attitude that the Catholic hierarchy and the Pope had towards a 53-year-old dictatorship was unnecessary," she told Huff Post. "To ignore, as they have, the repression, the arrests of the opposition, the persons who were beaten - including right there at the Mass - is unacceptable."


He Blew It

You are right again. The Pope really blew it. If he calls out clearly for an end to the U.S. embargo, why can't he speak up forcefully on the far more fundamental issue of freedom? The Castro regime took the occasion of the Pope's visit to sweep up dissidents in a wave of arrests, yet the Pope didn't even address the matter. His silence can only have demoralized those struggling and suffering for freedom.

The one protester you showed who shouted “Down with communism” was beaten and arrested in front of the cameras. I guess the Pope turned away his gaze, for political reasons...

The gain was for the octogenarian Castros, who proved they are not international pariahs who are shunned by many world leaders. Be sure they will try to use the Pope's visit to boast of greater openness in order to attract foreign investments.

Keep up the good reporting and analysis, which are sadly missing in the Catholic press today.


Bowing to Fidel

Check in the photo below the Pope bowing to Fidel Castro, again his hands folded Buddha style. Castro didn’t even bother to dress up, as you can see.

No meeting with the resisters of communism or those suffering persecution from the ungodly regime.


Pope bows to Fidel


Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted April 3, 2012

The opinions expressed in this section - What People Are Commenting - do not necessarily express those of TIA


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