Pope agrees to meet with Hugo Chavez during his visit to Cuba, still no word on meeting with Catholic Cuban dissidents


Pope Benedict XVI has accepted a request by Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez for an audience during his visit to Cuba according to Venezuelan journalist Nelson BocarrandaChavez returned to Cuba on Saturday to receive more treatment for a cancer that many experts say will end the dictator’s life within a matter of months. This news will no doubt raise the already heightened concerns of human rights activists in Cuba and throughout the world who have pleaded with the pope to grant an audience to Cuban dissidents, in particular the devoutly Catholic, all-women human rights organization, The Ladies in White Laura Pollan.

The Vatican has so far refused to commit to any meetings with Cuban dissidents or the Ladies in White, citing the time constraints of a full schedule during the visit to Cuba. However, the Vatican has offered an audience to Fidel Castro if he so wishes, apparently willing to shuffle the pope’s busy agenda to accommodate the retired dictator. The news now that the Vatican on such short notice has suddenly found room in the schedule to provide an audience for another dictator, Hugo Chavez, will most certainly cause more controversy.

H/T Punt de Vista

12 thoughts on “Pope agrees to meet with Hugo Chavez during his visit to Cuba, still no word on meeting with Catholic Cuban dissidents”

  1. This is beyond ridiculous. Isn’t the pope in Cuba to see about Cubans? I expect if Brazil’s Lula or Nicaragua’s Ortega flew in for the papal visit, Benedict would also make time to see either or both of them. Obviously, if the pope’s schedule is not too tight to accommodate Chávez (who’s probably shitting in his pants and won’t be satisfied with just a couple of minutes of papal reassurance), then claiming that the schedule is too tight for any dissident or opposition figure is simply not credible, to put it politely.

    But there’s no problem here. Just ask Bertone or Cardinal Ortega or, if you want someone closer, Miami’s Archbishop Wenski. They will all rationalize, I mean explain why it’s totally justified to ignore Cuba’s oppressed, abused and persecuted Catholic dissidents yet spend time catering to murderous despots who are the antithesis of Christianity. Makes perfect sense to me–as politics. Jesus Christ, however, who ministered to so many needy and troubled ordinary women like the Ladies in Whiten, as opposed to, say, Pontius Pilate, is another matter.

    All the RCC people associated with this visit keep saying, over and over, that it’s pastoral as opposed to political: the shepherd tending to the sheep. Of course, all the sheep are equal, but evidently, some are more equal than others. Especially the political ones.

  2. At this rate, the pope should be seeing Alan Gross, the relatives of the Cuban Five and Alicia Alonso. Sheesh.

  3. Asombra, you hit the nail on the head. That said, we got as much as we’re going to get out of this Pope. He gave us a scrap, he made a statement on the plane on the way to Mexico critical of Marxism and he might make another off-the-record slightly critical, but not-too-clear statement in Cuba, but that’s the extent of it. He’ll be too busy no doubt meeting with every last despotic VIP who asks for an audience him even though he doesn’t have 2 minutes to spare with the Ladies in White. The least that he could do if he doesn’t have 2 minutes to meet with them is to insist they they be allowed a center front road seat in the Church or outside square where he will be giving mass, so that they can be the first to receive communion. This would send a message of support. But of course, THAT WOULD TAKE UP TOO MUCH OF HIS PRECIOUS TIME.

  4. Well, there are no surprises here as we predicted how the Pope visit is going to turn out. Expect worse as the week goes on.

    The Pope and the Cardinals involved in this farce of a visit don’t represent anything closely remote to Jesus Christ, his teachings and the gospel.

    Unfortunately, we are living these insane times, witnessing the top leaders at the Roman Catholic Church working on the Devil’s behalf.

  5. Unless Benedict pulls off a major surprise, which seems very unlikely, this visit may well backfire—and frankly, that’s what its promoters deserve. Every day this whole business looks worse. A few vague words of “solidarity” are not going to cut it; Cubans are beyond tired of lip service and empty gestures that accomplish nothing. No, it’s not for a German octogenarian to liberate Cuba, or for Cuban Catholic priests to take to the streets when ordinary Cubans won’t, but if the Vatican can’t or won’t do for Cuba what it did for Poland, then it should at least have the minimal decency to refrain from ANYTHING that in ANY way aids, benefits or enables Castro, Inc. Unfortunately, such decency is and has been conspicuously absent.

  6. asombra,

    In regards to Cuba there isn’t an ounce of decency in the actions of the Pope, Cardinal Alamino and Cardinal Bertone; just complicity with the Devil’s actions (in this case personified by Fidel Castro).

    If we believe in God’s justice, all these individuals will get their due punishment, but it will be when God decides is time for them to pay for their sins.

    We will see how it unfolds…

  7. Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez must be a strange kind of ‘dictator’. He goes in elections which observers regard as free and fair. Among the 26 states are a number with opposition governors, and opposition controlled legislatures. He introduced a constituion that is supported by 75% of the population. People freely protest both for and against him, in the press, the pulpit, in the streets, universities, legislatures and parks.

  8. We would all like to know which Venezuela and which Hugo Chavez you’re referring to, lukeweyland:

    “Elections” in Venezuela have been rife with voter fraud an intimidation, regardless of what Jimmy Carter says. Opposition governors are subjected to threats and intimidation by the Chavez regime, and opposition political leaders have been jailed or have had to flee the country to escape manufactured criminal charges. And tell the Venezuelan university students and opposition candidate supporters who have been shot and killed while protesting in Venezuela that they are allowed to freely protest.

    Open and honest debate is always welcomed here, but propaganda is not tolerated. If all you have to offer is propaganda, I suggest you go elsewhere.

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