Cuba’s Havana Archbishop, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, threatens and attacks dissidents again

For the umpteenth time, Cuba’s Cardinal Jaime Ortega shows his corruption and iniquity. And for the corresponding umpteenth time, the Vatican and the Pope (current and past) will do absolutely nothing about it. May God have mercy on them.

Via Diario Las Americas (my translation):

‘You all get your information from worm-infested Miami’

A group of Cuban opposition members who attended 4th of July celebrations at the residence of Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, claim that Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino angrily told them “you all get your information from worm-infested Miami” when the dissidents attempted to give him a petition calling for amnesty for political prisoners.

According to the opposition members, they claimed the prelate denied the existence of political prisoners on the island during the altercation and then threatened to call security to have them removed from the residence if they continued to insist on giving him the document.

The incident took place on Thursday afternoon and opposition member Egberto Escobedo, who had the conversation with Ortega, corroborated the events that took place to DIARIO LAS AMERICAS.

Escobedo confirmed that at one time during the exchange, the Cardinal claimed that there were no political prisoners on the island and that “the information all of you [the opposition] receive comes from ‘worm-infested’ Miami.”

“The Cardinal was indignant and insulted,” he emphasized.

The incident took place shortly after a musical group dressed in flashy blue uniforms and white hats played the national anthems of Cuba and the United States and after a brief welcome statement from DeLaurentis.

Officials from the U.S. and accredited diplomats attended the party in Havana. The Cubans invited took advantage of the occasion to speak with dissidents, musicians, and intellectuals.

According to a report from Ivan Garcia, a correspondent for DLA in Havana, opposition members Escobedo and Jose Diaz Silva approached Ortega to deliver a list of 51 political prisoners while he was conversing with a group of bishops. The list was compiled by the Forum for Rights and Liberties — headed by opposition members Antonio Rodiles, Angel Moya, and Berta Soler — who has been calling for their release every Sunday for the past two weeks despite intense repression by State Security.

In a conversation with DLA, Diaz Silva corroborated the statements made by Escobedo.

Separately, a representative from the Ladies in White group in Matanzas, Leticia Ramos Herrera, criticized Ortega’s words during an interview with DLA. She confirmed that the term “worm-infested” to describe Cubans in Miami was used by the Cardinal.

The reactions

Diplomats, invitees, and foreign journalists present remained huddled together during the harsh remarks, which became the talk of the event.

“He looked like a political commissioner for a Stalinist court instead of a merciful representative of God. One would think the Catholic Church should take in everyone. But for a while now there exists a sector in the national Church that has not only turned its back on dissidents, but just like the government, it also attacks them,” said Victor Manuel Dominguez, a poet and independent journalist.

An official from an embassy of a western country who asked to remain anonymous said that because of the Cardinal’s position, “the least one could ask of Ortega is to listen to the complaints of any person, whether or not he agrees with them.”

The genesis of the Archbishop’s belligerent tone are declarations he made June 5th to Cadena Ser, a Spanish radio network, where he claimed there were no longer any political prisoners in Cuba.

That assertion provoked a strong response from opposition member Jose Luis Garcia Perez Antúnez. And it was precisely Antúnez, Rodiles, Guillermo Fariñas, Angel Moya, and Berta Soler who were present during the harsh response from the Cardinal.

“What can you expect from a society where the religious institutions that supposedly should give shelter to all believers repudiates dissidents. That is why we have, with the suspicious silence of intellectuals and a sector of the clergy, the Sunday beatings of opposition members and the Ladies in White,” said Antonio Rodiles to Ivan Garcia, a reporter for DLA in Havana.

Read the entire article (in Spanish) HERE.

6 thoughts on “Cuba’s Havana Archbishop, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, threatens and attacks dissidents again”

  1. The actual wording he used was “la gusanera de Miami,” which is worse. He doesn’t even have the minimal elegance (or intelligence) to avoid using hoary regime-speak (he also calls the embargo “bloqueo”). As I’ve said before, he’s definitely no Richelieu, just a vulgar lackey in clerical garb (which happens to make him look even more like a frilly old queen). Of course, he has reason to resent “those people,” since they’ve got his number and don’t much care whether he’s a cardinal or Maradona. Well, he might as well carry on like a “chancletera,” which helps to clarify the situation, for what that’s worth. If the pope is not ashamed of him, he can rest assured I am–but then again, I’m ashamed of the pope, even though it’s a case of “vergüenza ajena.”

  2. If Ortega were sharper and more cunning, as opposed to a second-rate and relatively clumsy stooge, he’d feign a sober, modest, spartan plainness, eschewing anything lacy, frilly, shiny or ornate. In other words, he’d avoid anything that emphasized or suggested effeminacy and weakness, given the VERY strong suspicion that he’s a homosexual prelate under blackmail or coercion. That way, he wouldn’t add fuel to the fire and could also score some points for simplicity and even humility. Alas, he’s too “poca cosa” for that, and his “success” has clearly gone to his head, so that he doesn’t even try to disguise what he is by watching his rather loose mouth–though maybe he’s simply “demasiado escaso” to realize the kind of grotesque “papelazo” he’s performing.

  3. Alberto, your translation was fine. It’s a matter of nuance which doesn’t really translate. The point is that the guy is clearly defensive after the negative response provoked by his claim on Spanish radio that Cuba has no political prisoners, exactly the sort of claim that any official regime spokesperson would have made. He also knows “those people,” aka “la gusanera de Miami,” hold him in deep contempt, and he’s too much of a fishwife not to go off like some shrill chusma. Seriously, the least a cardinal can do, even a cardinal rotten to the core, is put on a suitably “dignified” front, and Ortega can’t even fake it. Appalling.

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