Note: This post is from March 2012, in advance of the Pope’s visit to Cuba
The topic most discussed these days with regard to the Cuban reality is the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI. The official press has made clear its predictions, of course favorable to the regime, and the head of the Roman Catholic Church comes as a guest, not only of the faithful, but also the government.
On the other hand, the internal and external opposition also speculates, and their hopes center on the coming of the Catholic leader to resolve, if not all, at least some of of the ills battering the country. The star of the expected visit has been somewhat lost in the moment when thirteen opponents occupying a Catholic church decided to stay, with the objective of bringing their demands and claims to Benedict XVI.
This event captured the attention of many and the occupiers received the support of some and the unfavorable criticism of others. In the end they failed in their intention because the church leadership sought the support of the “authorities” and they managed to remove the entrenched group of opponents from within the Basilica of Havana.
I do not want to speculate about an event that has not happened yet,but the trajectory so car gives us an idea about what the Papal visit will consist of. As an evangelical believer and as a Cuban, I don’t give much weight to what the Pope can resolve for us, as I don’t believe in his infallibility and in observing the Cuban Catholic Church I see that it has been colluding with the regime in a lamentable way.
I also think that Benedict XVI is not just a religious leader, he also carries the weight of a State on his shoulders, which he must govern, as he is also a political boss and greatly concerned with political issues.
In a scenario where we are building up, not dividing, the voices against the power of the Castros, this spiritual and political representative cannot hear those who dissent and cannot value their complaints and petitions for him to intercede for them before the Cuban rulers, making clear their disadvantageous position.
Perhaps this same future scenario, the Pope meeting with “his church” and his Cuban political peers, making the case to omit the dissidents is the mark that divides those thirteen people stationed in the Catholic church, thinking that the idea would carry their voices in some way to the visitor, especially because the Catholic church has adopted the position of mediator between dissidents and rulers on other occasions.
Although I am not a Catholic nor a member of any political party, I don’t judge the actions of these dissidents, their way of working solely to seek communication with the Pope in this peaceful way, so I think the dissident voices raised against this action, although within their rights, had to have done more damage to the opposition, than the attitude adopted by the thirteen or the general discord around the event.
When we refer to the Roman Catholic Church, we can not try to free it from political developments in any country where it is located, whether for good or or ill of the people, it has always been present in political scenarios, and we must be honest, not always in favor of the disadvantaged, but the powerful.
An example of this in the past it was Pope Pius XII, known as Hitler’s Pope, the latter said that his negotiations with Pius XII had created an atmosphere of deep trust between them, while the Pope trivialized the fascist formula.
There is no denying the heroic and worthy voices that have come from the bosom of this church, such as Monsignor Romero, true to the poor and dispossessed in our country and of Monsignor Pedro Claro Meurice Estiu, whose historical intervention marked the visit previous papal, that of John Paul II, to bring to light the true burden of the Cuban people place the blame for the misgovernment of the country in the right place.
Apparently the current Cuban church has signed some sort of concordat with the dictators, we are simply waiting to see what Benedict XVI does, but I repeat, with no high hopes.
Meanwhile and although I support the diversity and full democracy, the only ingredients needed in the formula for freedom, I think the opposition should show the world and Cubans the unity we all want for the future of the country, that unity that consolidates us as people and makes us strong, to be one in the midst of diversity is the greatest achievement that both those who live in exile and those of us on the Island can achieve.
The solution of our destiny is not in the hands of the Pope, but in our own, and it s in whom I have greater expectations and in God whom I do believe to be infallible.
Let us not judge one another, let us not adopt opinions or criticism that can then lead to unhealthy division or discrepancies. In the end, and I again clarify that this is my personal opinion, there is no differences between these thirteen opponents and other groups, although they use the space for Catholic churches to pray for freedom for political prisoners, it does not make them less political. The intention of these people was simply to be heard, but ultimately their efforts did not bear fruit.
Translated by: Hank Hardisty and others
March 22 2012