March 29, 2012
The head of the Catholic Church met President Raul Castro yesterday in Havana. In Santiago, he called on Christians to build an “open and renewed society.”
On the second day of his trip to Cuba, the Pope was received by President Raul Castro, giving the visit of the head of the Catholic Church a much more political significance than the simple pastoral stroll announced by the Vatican. Meanwhile, a meeting was scheduled between the Cardinal Secretary of State, the Vatican number two Tarcisio Bertone, and Cuban Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura. Both together review the hot topics such as the imprisoned opponents, where the Cuban Church has served as mediator in order to obtain dozens of releases, easing the U.S. blockade against Cuba and the extension of rights for Catholics especially in education or health.
Raul Castro. the Cuban president in his welcome speech, spoke generalization of “a systemic crisis, caused by the irrational consumption in affluent societies.” He spoke of the “moral crisis” and “outraged young” in the Western world and confirmed the good performance of the relationship between church and cuba, where religious freedom is guaranteed by the Constitution. On these topics, he even found something in common with the Pope. Raul Castro has finally denounced the “economic, political and media” blockade against Cuba, regretting that since 1998 nothing has changed. On this issue the pope is also expected.