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Montaner: What the pope saw in Cuba

Carlos Alberto Montaner in the Miami Herald:

What the pope saw in Cuba of millions of people watched the pope in Cuba, heard his utterings and observed what happened. Naturally, each one of those witnesses perceived the visit differently. What’s interesting now is to find out what the perception was among the pope and his Vatican entourage.

This is what I’ve been able to find out through ecclesiastical sources (and others) that wish to remain in absolute anonymity. Some of those sources were very close to the Holy Father.

• First. Benedict XVI was struck by the huge contrast between the Mexican welcome — joyous, free, multitudinous and spontaneous — in a city that was alive and economically vibrant, and the tense Cuban ceremonies, evidently controlled by the political police, held in a country impoverished to the point of misery, and preceded by hundreds of detentions.

The horrific spectacle of a young man savagely beaten by a policeman disguised as a Red Cross stretcher-bearer touched the pope’s heart and caused him to take a personal interest in the man’s fate. After all, the poor man had only shouted “Down with communism,” the common man’s echo of what the pontiff himself had said when he left Italy, when he declared that Marxism was a failed ideology that needed to be buried.

• Second. The pope and his retinue found it lamentable that Raúl Castro chose to deliver in Santiago de Cuba a classic Stalinist Cold-War speech intended to justify the dictatorship. They had expected a message of change and hope, not a reiteration of the regime’s main arguments.

That text, along with the speeches made by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez and the vice president in charge of economics, Marino Alberto Murillo, convinced them that Raúl Castro is much more interested in remaining anchored in the past than in preparing a better future for the Cubans.

• Third. They ascertained — painfully — that the plea made by the Pope John Paul II during his visit 14 years ago, to the effect that the Cubans lose their fear, had been for naught. Except for a few hundred opposition democrats who are permanently harassed and beaten, sometimes jailed, Cuba’s is a society rotted by fear.

But the manifestation of fear that intrigued them the most was not that of the oppositionists but that of the apparent supporters. They heard their double-talk up close and were terrified.

Continue reading HERE.

16 comments to Montaner: What the pope saw in Cuba

  • pototo

    The poor poor deceived pope. In his land of rainbows and stardust he never knew that Cuba had a repressive government and must have been shocked to see that it did not resemble all that he had envisioned.
    Of course he probably never heard of political dissidents either.
    I am sure that now he is sharing his blackened soul in order to do some serious damage control.
    I hope no one tells him about the RCC sexual abuse scandals. He would be shocked to be made aware of that as well.

  • pototo

    I assumed that Montaner was joking and this article was tongue and cheek. But it turns out that some are actually buying this tripe.
    Simply amazing.......
    I need to get into the bridge selling business. It looks like there would be customers galore.

  • asombra

    All of this sounds nice enough, but what good did it do? Did it or will it translate into significant action or policy? Pontius Pilate could have expressed all sorts of nice-sounding sentiments after turning Christ over to be crucified, but again, what good or difference would it have made? Sorry, no dice.

  • We await for the Vatican to voice their disillusionment with the Cuba visit as clearly and widely as they voiced their opposition to the U.S. "embargo"...

  • pototo

    I always question when someone quotes a "secret source" who has first hand knowledge of a situation yet will never go public. They wish "anonymity". Sounds alot like the pope's visit in regards to the suffering in Cuba. He was definitely invisible.

  • Assuming what Montaner is saying is true and the pope and his advisers now understand all of those things, the question remains, what will they do about it?

  • pototo

    They have done what they will do. This is all just about damage control. If we will be gullible enough for these rumors I guess I heard that fidel is repentant and he never really meant to hurt anyone.....
    Gonna believe that one?

  • Gusano

    seriously?...the pope & the vatican didn't know..."No hay peor ciego que el que no quiere ver"...sins of omission...

  • pototo

    What I see with that article is a desperate attempt by Catholic Cubans to justify their personal lack of action. It is basically a conscience appeaser.

  • [...] Datechguy | April 3rd, 2012 Via Babalu Blog some inside baseball concerning the Pope’s trip that should surprise nobody who actually pays [...]

  • Rayarena

    I've read some of Carlos Alberto Montaner's essays and what strikes me about him is how poorly sourced his work is. I'm thinking about one particular book called, "Viaje al corazon de Cuba." There were absolutely no footnotes in a book that made so many references. He's an extremely sloppy researcher, so I take his anonymous source in this article like a grain of salt.

    That said, WHO cares if the Pope saw the reality. That only means that he's worst than I imagined. I can somehow forgive him [just a little bit] if he's a doddering old fool that can't see what's going on around him, but if he's fully aware and doesn't do a thing, he's infinitely worst than I thought. I would say, he's bordering on evil.

    By the way, not doing anything about a horrible situation that you do something about is called: TACIT APPROVAL THROUGH INDIFFERENCE.

  • asombra

    It is my impression that Montaner is not a practicing Catholic, though I could be mistaken. Be that as it may, even if one assumes that his information is correct, that only puts even more of an onus on the Vatican to change its course and make Cardinal Ortega change his. I don’t believe that will happen, and only seeing it happen (meaning actions, not words) would make me believe it. If it does not happen, what are all these fine words relayed by Montaner worth? Nothing. In fact, they would only make the Vatican look worse, and that’s saying something, because it looks very bad already.

  • asombra

    FWIW, the Russian Orthodox Church is officially in bed with Putin. It publicly endorsed his candidacy, and has called its critics "anti-Russian forces." Lord deliver us from pious frauds, and not just the overtly religious kind. There are plenty of secular religions out there.

  • Honey

    It is very easy for this Pope to do something good even now. Let him speak publicly about the tyranny in Cuba, let him bless the Ladies in White and Biscet and the other dissidents. Let him say in the safety of his abode what he refused to acknowledge while he was in Cuba.

  • asombra

    Honey, it seems highly unlikely. They know they could easily lose all their “gains,” which are contingent upon playing along with the regime. Ortega, Mr. Go-Getter, would certainly lobby hard against it. They think they’re on a roll here, and they’re looking to get more crumbs, I mean gains. Nobody seems bothered by the fact that they’re dealing with the devil, who never deals in good faith and never gives anything for nothing. It may not be long before Ortega or Wenski or both start calling their critics “hysterical” or “obstructionists.” It's a bad business.

  • asombra

    Montaner frequently writes as if he were very, VERY well-connected and pretty much in on everything. He may be, conceivably, but one wonders. I certainly do.