عدد المساهمات : 38349
تاريخ التسجيل : 21/09/2009
|موضوع: May 09, 2015 The help of the Church in the thaw in relations between the U الأحد 10 مايو 2015, 05:43|| |
May 09, 2015
- اقتباس :
The help of the Church in the thaw in relations between the US and Cuba
(©Ansa) Obama and Raúl Castro shake hands
Tomorrow, Raúl Castro will be meeting Francis in the Vatican, ahead of the Pope’s visit to the island in September, on his way to the US
- اقتباس :
The Pope’s meeting with Raúl Castro is just around the corner. The 85-year-old Cuban president, Fidel’s brother, in the protagonist – alongside US President Barack Obama – of the historic thaw in relations between the two countries, a diplomatic initiative which the Holy See has discreetly helped ease along. Castro requested an audience with Pope Francis, adding this Vatican leg to a journey that took him first to Algeria and then Moscow.
Other than the global prospects for Latin America, triggered by the recent Panama summit, which was attended by the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, there are also diplomatic and ecclesial questions on the agenda in terms of the Holy See’s relationship with Havana.
As far as the former are concerned, the aim is to continue and to beef up dialogue between Cuba and the Holy See after a cold war that has lasted decades. A long history that has given rise to tensions and problems that cannot easily be resolved. As part of the package of requests Cuba wishes to address to the US, the island plans to ask for the return of the historic military base of Guantanamo, the US’s military outpost on the island and in Latin America. The big issue, however, is the embargo, which has an impact on financial, commercial and cultural relations. The positive signs represented by the first contact between the two countries through the possibility of travel is contributing to a lessening of tensions. But we must not forget that in order for restrictive measures to be cancelled, approval is first needed from Congress and the course of action upheld by Obama may not necessarily receive the required consensus.
Another important point worth remembering, is that up until now, the Cuban government has used the US embargo as a justification for policies of economic control over the island and its population. Pope Francis is in a position to help the resumed dialogue process, backing calls for the embargo to be lifted, while at the same time asking the Cuban government to do its bit to advance the thaw in relations and move in the direction of freedom in order to improve the living conditions of the population.
The Catholic Church in Cuba has been backing the dialogue process for many years, in order to encourage Cuba to open itself up to the world, and the world to open itself up to Cuba, to coin a phrase used by John Paul II. The Holy See promoted the thaw in US-Cuban relations, in tune with the efforts of local bishops led by Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino. They have asked the Cuban government for permission to build new churches and for improvements in communication and transport. They hope to have greater access to communication channels and that this communication will not just be limited to a quarter of an hour each year.
The hope is that tomorrow’s audience, as well as the Pope’s visit to the island this coming September, as part of the same trip that will, significantly, also include visits to Washington, to the White House and to Congress, will all have positive and concrete consequences. The recent history of relations between the Vatican and Cuba, has shown that these kinds of events are always marked by concessions made by the Cuban government, for example the re-introduction of Christmas as a public holiday, which was announced before John Paul II’s visit to the Caribbean island.