Sunday, April 01, 2012

The Pope missed a great opportunity


Yes, we understand that The Pope did not go to Cuba to overthrow the corrupt Castro regime or to support the dissident movement.  We are aware of the fact that this is outside the scope of a papal visit.

At the same time, The Pope is not another head of state going to Cuba to cut a deal with the Castro brothers.  The Pope is the leader of the Catholic Church, the same church has been the target of repression in the last 50 years.  

Therefore, The Pope missed a great opportunity to remind everyone that the Catholic Church values life (abortion is free in Cuba), liberty (there is none in Cuba) and giving all Cubans freedom from repression and censorship.

First, he should have required the presence of "las damas en blanco" at the public mass.  It was a public mass....wasn't it? 

Second, he should have said publicly that the Catholic faith is about dignity and respect for all.

Third, he should have reminded the Castro brothers that their kind of corrupt "top down" crony capitalism is unacceptable.  In other words, investors who invest in Cuba are funding the Castro Family Estate account in Swiss banks not helping the Cuban people.

Fourth, why did he have a private meeting with Fidel Castro, the man who expelled priests & nuns rather than Cubans who can't practice their faith freely?   

Last, but not least, he should have reminded Cubans that the US embargo is not responsible for the 50-year old disaster in the island. 

Again, it was a great opportunity to do something positive rather than passive.  The Pope chose the passive approach.  Someone should have reminded The Pope that he was in Cuba not Costa Rica.

Ray Walser of The Heritage Foundation is one of our favorite US-Latin American analysts.  I liked what he wrote:

"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."

Perhaps I'm wrong.  Frankly, I'd like to be wrong about this post but it's hard to get excited about watching The Pope sitting next to Raul & Fidel Castro.  Wonder what all of those Cuban Catholics who witnessed this regime murder their families think about this?

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