Cardinal Jaime Ortega’s little business
If you thought Havana archbishop Cardinal Jaime Ortega could not be any more sinister, you were wrong. Along with being a willing tool for the vile Castro dictatorship, Cardinal Ortega is also running what appears to be a quite successful real estate business in Cuba. All at the expense of the island's impoverished elderly.
The business dealings of the Cardinal
The Catholic Church in Cuba controls a real estate portfolio amassed by taking in the elderly.
The taking in of the elderly at the Church of Paula in the Havana neighborhood of Monaco has nothing to be envied by a hostel for tourists. Right now, the elderly sit in the sun and read a book while remembering the past. The attention they receive on the part of the nuns and medical personnel is first class. Their bed linens are changed daily. They have breakfast, lunch and dinner, and they can drink some juice or milk as a snack or before going to bed. And on the weekends, the hard working nuns take them for drives in a minivan owned by the religious entity.
All of this in exchange for signing over their properties and their pensions to the church.
The hospices for retired men and women run by the Catholic Church and managed by Cardinal Jaime Ortega offer a stark difference to similar state facilities.
Not too far from Monaco, at the ancient Home for Veterans on San Miguel and Agustina, there is a state run home that is disgusting. The elderly, dirty and bleary, spend their time begging for money and cigarettes. The food is a repugnant stew. And many of the elderly, afflicted with their ailments, badly dressed and footwear that is even worse, go out on the street in an attempt to find some money by picking up empty cans, selling newspapers, or packages of peanuts.
These elderly individuals are not in this rundown home because they want to be there. The problem -- and this is the great difference -- is that they do not have properties to offer the Church in exchange for awaiting death with dignity.
The theories of Catholicism can move any human being. Help your neighbor, those who are in need, and those who are suffering. That is not bad. But in practice, at least in Cuba, reality at times is far from these Christian values.
Two decades ago, Teresa, an incorrigible pious women, after the death of her sister and felling alone and sad, decided to spend her last days in a home of the Catholic Church. It was the hard years of the "special period" and, before going hungry and suffering poverty, Teresa chose instead to donate to the Archdiocese her retirement pension and her three-bedroom/two-bath apartment with a large terrace on Carmen Street on one side of the Paradero de la Vibora (in today's real estate market, that apartment is worth approximately $25,000).
It is a personal decision that deserves respect. Every person can decide to who they want to give their property. The point is what the Catholic Church can do with that property after.
A few days after Teresa moved out of her apartment, a brigade of construction workers from the Archdiocese began to make repairs with top quality materials. According to neighbors, which in like all neighborhoods are aware of the most minimal thing, the apartment was given to a recently married "niece" of Cardinal Ortega. A lady who in reality was the daughter of one of his cousins since Ortega did not have any siblings.
A nice wedding gift. Later, her and her husband left the country, like many of the "daddy's kids" who govern the island, and the apartment was then given to the brother of the husband of the Cardinal's "niece."
Remember that in Cuba, 60% of the homes are in bad condition. And some 80% of young couples have no choice but to live with four different generations under the same roof.
But Jaime, the pastor of God on the island, can enjoy such luxuries. It is not an isolated case. The Church has a real estate portfolio it can use for its convenience without anyone questioning them.
The rest of the report (in Spanish) is available HERE.