The Pope’s Sad Trip To Cuba

Elliott Abrams at the Council for Foreign Relations:

The Pope’s Sad Trip To Cuba

The most significant statement made during Pope Benedict’s trip to Cuba this week was that made by the government minister in charge of economic reform, Marino Murillo, who said “In Cuba, there will not be political reform.”

He’s right, although that is a truth too many people wish to obscure. The Castro regime took the occasion of the Pope’s visit to sweep up dissidents in a wave of arrests. None of that was surprising, but the Pope’s failure to advance the cause of freedom is sad indeed. The photos of him with Fidel and Raul Castro can only have demoralized those struggling and suffering for freedom in Cuba, for the Pope refused to meet with any dissidents at all. Moreover, his remarks were so carefully phrased that, according to press reports, most Cubans did not view them as a call for freedom–whatever the Pope’s intent.

Of course the Pope is not a political figure, but he did rather clearly say he thought the U.S. embargo should end. If it was possible to be clear on that issue, why not on the far more fundamental issue of freedom? I know the Church plays a very long game, in Cuba as in China and everywhere across the globe, and this visit may have gained the Roman Catholic Church in Cuba a bit more freedom for itself  to operate. But at what cost? “I’m deeply concerned that the Cuban church has negotiated political space for themselves in exchange for their moral imperative,” Sen. Marco Rubio said this month.

Perhaps the full measure of this papal visit cannot be made yet, and its longer-term impact will be positive. But seen from the week of the visit itself, it was a sad event that did little or nothing to bring moral and religious support to those suffering in the struggle for liberty in Cuba.



17 thoughts on “The Pope’s Sad Trip To Cuba

  1. Sadly, as the ashes on the forehead fall way so will the outrage. That is why this was able to happen, thats is why it will continue to happen.
    Apathy destroys.

  2. Just read at Robert’s that the buck is being passed to Ortega. If the quotes are legit it shows even more of the blindness that I spoke of regarding the sheepish following of Catholics.

    Catholicism is indeed a tool well used by castro to keep Cuba from ever being free. I was reflecting today if my opposition to Catholicism was clouding my objectivity. Robert’s article has erased any possibility of that.

    The RCC is as much a part of the oppression of Cuba as are the castros. They just wear different colored uniforms.

  3. pototo,

    Robert got a piece of my mind yesterday, I stand for my remark to him and I must add (after reading the article you mentioned) that for all his so called Catholic values he’s a blind, lying fool out touch with reality and in complicity with a failed Pope because in that article he places all the blame on Ortega and fails to mention what the Pope’s top associates stated that you so accurately mentioned in your reply.

    As I said, I read his article (and your reply too) and came to the conclusion that individuals like him become accomplices to evil because they fail to acknowledge the truth for whatever reasons that I cannot understand.

    Remember that the way to hell many times is paved by individuals with good intentions.

    If one thing I have learned in life is not put anyone on top of a pedestal unless they earned with their actions. This current Pope actions demonstrate that does not represent Jesus Christ on earth and is not worthy of his crown.

    The only individual that deserves to be on a pedestal for eternity is our mighty Lord Jesus Christ, the rest of us are sinners.

    • Ernie, your statement about Robert is very unfair and untrue. He may have differences with us about many topics but he is certainly not a liar and he’s not a fool. You owe him an apology.

      • Ernie, you can disagree all you want with libs and call them any name in the book. I know I do. But Robert is one of us. We may not agree with him but his intentions are good. Calling him a “lying fool” was uncalled for. That’s what I wanted you to apologize for.

  4. I believe Robert was quoting or referring to comments made in Cuba by Berta Soler, the leader of the Ladies in White. Others in Cuba have also been more critical of Ortega than of the pope. Ortega, obviously, is heavily implicated, but what the pope does or does not do is his personal decision and responsibility.

  5. I do not nor should not speak for anyone other than myself, but he indeed says he “agrees” with Soler’s comments. I do not call him a fool, but those are indeed very foolish statements.
    It shows a lack of discernment in this particulat matter.
    This only proves the more that the religion of some does indeed blind them to some truths.
    We often say we can’t discuss religion and politics within families. That is precisely the reason we live in the situation we are in. We can be civil, but we must all realize that this is a passionate topic that due to neglect has reached a crescendo. I know that some may be upset that religion is discussed, but it has to be discussed. This week has proven that.

  6. Sorry George pototo is right, read the comment he made to pototo.

    “Thanks for stopping by. I don’t have much time for a detailed response but I will mention that the blame on Cardinal Ortega came directly from Berta Soler herself. The quote in the post was directly translated from the article without any personal commentary. I happen to agree with her, but the quote is clearly indicated in her comments.”

    I retract my apology, since I had not read this comment.

  7. Alright guys, I know we have a deadly combination going here — religion AND politics — but this is getting out of hand. Robert is a friend of ours, and more importantly, a friend of mine. I will not tolerate having one of my friends called a liar and a fool over a disagreement. It is uncalled for and unnecessary.

    Either get back on the topic or I’m shutting down the comments.

  8. Not sure if I am being referred to here or not that is why I am asking. I did not call him a fool, but said his comment was foolish and I stand by that statement. Is this percieved to be wrong?

    • Pototo,

      We’re all friends here, and I’m just making sure we keep the discussion friendly. I understand we have diverse views on this particular topic, but as friends, all with the same core values, there is no reason to allow the discussion to deteriorate into a flame war.

      We can disagree, pero vamos hacerlo con respeto.

  9. Just saw this thread now after a long day on the road…THANK YOU George and Alberto for acknowledging that we can have disagreements, even heated ones, and still respect each other.

  10. Gentlemen,
    We are all big boys here and thankfully not in Cuba where we are not allowed to speak as we wish. I understand that this venue is a private one and I also understand that the rules belong to those who run the blog. But let me at least be clear. This is not about offending or being offended. I can openly say that I do not respect Robert’s stated position regarding Ortega in any way, shape or form. I also do not agree with him in other areas. That does not mean that I disrespect him as I do not know him. That does not make me a bad guy, but an honest man and we desperately need honesty. Tolerating error only makes me a liked hypocrite. This is bigger than any one man’s or many men’s feelings who blog. This is about the freedom of Cuba or lack thereof. What we all need to be is men enough to say what needs to be said and not get our noses bent out of shape when we or someone we like may get offended. We are men and we are Cuban men. We have a cause and we must fight for the cause. I may get attacked for being honest, but it needs to be said.

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