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realclearworld

Analysis of pope’s visit to Cuba by non-Cubans

The reaction to the visit by Pope Benedict XVI to Cuba by the vast majority of Cuban exiles throughout the world has been one of disappointment. Naturally, there are those who like to portray this reaction as the rumblings of hardliners and intransigents consumed by hatred, unable and unwilling to understand what they describe as the pope's subtle diplomatic nuances. But there are some non-Cubans who are looking at the pope's visit to Cuba from an objective perspective, and no surprise to us hardline intransigents, they came to the same conclusion we came to.

Here are a couple of examples:

Jack Fowler in the National Review:

The Pope in Revolution Square

Nina Shea does tremendous work, but I find her take on the Pope’s visit to Cuba to be off the mark, if not naïve. What Cuba needed was the kind of Holy Father who visited Nicaragua in 1983 and told off Sandinista theologian and state minister Ernesto Cardinal. Instead, Benedict — traveling as a “Pilgrim of Charity” — refused to clearly show any charity towards Cuba’s persecuted Catholics. He had some swell public handshakes with Raul Castro, on whose stained hands is the blood of many Cuban foes of tyranny, and a glorious tête-à-tête with Fidel, who remains fidel . . . to oppression, but a mention of the Ladies in White? Nada.

Nina writes about the Mass:

The first reading (Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95) was the Old Testament story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who “defied the order of the king” and were thrown into a fiery furnace as punishment. As the pope put it: “The three young men persecuted by the Babylonian king preferred to face death by fire rather than betray their conscience and their faith.”

At that moment, images of the Ladies in White, their imprisoned loved ones, Dr. Oscar Biscet, Elizardo Sanchez, and Cuba’s legions of other persecuted dissidents over the past half-century must have been in the forefront of everyone’s minds.

No, it must not have been. But it would have been if the Pope said so forcefully and directly, without shrouded hints or mystical nuances. He had the moxie to hit the US embargo, he should have shown the moxie of true charity by speaking out for the oppressed. I guess the upside for Cubans is that the cock crowed, and the heir of Peter denied them, so this upcoming Passion Week brings them closer to the Christ of Gethsemane and The Cross. But damn, shouldn’t they have been brought closer to political freedom? Again, it’s something another Holy Father would have done, and did do. But I guess the freedom of Cubans doesn’t equate to the freedom of Europeans.

By the way (I): It’s been reported today that the Castro regime arrested several of the Ladies in White before they could attend the Papal Mass. Well, they were at the forefront of someone’s mind (unfortunately, the head of state security).

By the way (II): The bravest man in Cuba was this solitary soul, who shouted “down with communism!” at the Papal Mass, and was then led away, to await what torments one shudders to consider.

Ray Walser at the Heritage Foundation:

In Cuba, Pope Disappoints Friends of Democracy

On March 28, Pope Benedict XVI completed his six-day visit to Mexico and Cuba. In both stops, the Pope sought to propagate the faith and demonstrate the connectivity between faith and the moral and spiritual conditions of modern man.

In Cuba, the Pope did not visit with those who speak in opposition to the Castro regime. He did meet with a visibly aging, weakened Fidel Castro.

Vatican spokesman Frederico Lombardi said the Pope granted a meeting to Fidel Castro—but not to dissidents who had requested the same—out of the church’s respect for its Cuban government hosts. “When the pope comes to a country…he has to take into account all the requests and suggestions of the authorities.” He added, “It is the authorities who invited the Holy Father to the country.”

NBC, which seldom pays attention to Cuban repression, dispatched Andrea Mitchell to the island for the papal visit, where she too noted an unwillingness to carve out time for a meeting with those who stand for liberty.

The Pope made no mention of jailed American Alan Gross and pleased his Cuban hosts by denouncing the U.S. trade embargo. The visit also gave greater prominence to the mediating role of the Catholic Church on the island and the work of Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega.

The Cuban regime stepped up repression aimed at keeping dissidents away from the Pope. Cell phones went dead all over the island. More than 200 peaceful dissidents were rounded up before the Pope’s arrival to prevent them from showing up at his public meetings, human rights groups reported. A dissident who shouted “down with communism” during the pope’s Mass in Santiago de Cuba was beaten and arrested in front of cameras.

While human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Freedom House have all spoken up about continued repression in Cuba, the Vatican remained distressingly silent on the latest incidents and crackdown.

The question, then: Did the Castro brothers win a tactical victory in the battle for survival of their crumbling revolutionary model? Perhaps.

Continue reading the article HERE.

I guess Fowler and Walser will now be classified as intransigent hardliners consumed by hatred.

8 comments to Analysis of pope’s visit to Cuba by non-Cubans

  • Honey

    This bears out what I said on another post:

    I am not Cuban, nor is Ziva, nor is Jay Nordlinger, nor is Jack Fowler, nor is Deroy Murdock, nor is Senator Toomey, and I could go on naming names and fill up a huge box here. We take heat, believe me, or get looked down upon for our views. We are part of your pain. We may not be in the tens of thousands, but we do exist and we do fight the good fight alongside you. Every time we write a comment or get an article from babalu posted somewhere else or take abuse because we express our beliefs about Cuba, it is because we, unlike this Pope, know the difference between tyrants and their victims. When I go to the Club for Growth or RJC meetings, I try to find a way to bring up Cuba, I certainly brought up the Pope's visit, I often find others in these places who are mindful of the plight of the Cuban people. Many are indifferent, yes. It's because they have other worries they are coping with. But most conservatives I know are with you, if not actively, then quietly.

  • asombra

    There is nothing wrong with intransigence against and hatred of evil. Nothing. God does it. The problem is that too many are too worried about fashion, image, and fitting in or not being left out. And those are the "good" ones. There are those who enable or promote evil because they like it and want it to prevail.

  • asombra

    The pope may well have been told up front that Gross was off the table, but even if he wasn't, he simply couldn't touch that if he ignored Cuba's own people (except in a vague, general way that was too dilute and feeble to have any real impact).

  • asombra

    On his 1982 visit to Poland, JP II met with Lech Walesa, an obviously political gesture. Cuba, as always, is treated by different standards.

  • asombra

    Lack of intransigence against evil is simply moral weakness.

  • I'm not Catholic, but I have tell you that the photo showing the mass-murdering tyrant on the altar with the Pope, is to me a definitive illustration of just how bereft of holiness and morality, indeed humanity our world has become. I remember years ago being shocked during the Godfather II baptism scene running concurrent with assassinations. But that was just a movie. This is real life. Satin is among us, and a lot more people are going to have to come to understand that the battle between good and evil requires their participation. What happened in Cuba this week should have been the equivalent of a thunder bolt. I'm still trying to come to terms with the horror and disappointment.

  • Also, this annoys the hell out of me. "He had the moxie to hit the US embargo" That wasn't moxie, just more kissing his hosts asses.