WASHINGTON POST: Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said this week that Francis had not accepted any invitations to meet with dissidents… and they have received no invitation to see him.
The pope “will be well aware that his not meeting dissidents will be construed in some quarters as kowtowing to the regime but he won’t care about that,” said Austen Ivereigh, author of “The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope.”
Francis has a close relationship with Cardinal Jaime Ortega, the archbishop of Havana who has been fiercely criticized by dissidents in Cuba and anti-Castro forces in Miami for not confronting the government as the church has done in other places around the world.
Despite the assertions of rights groups that there are still dozens of political prisoners in Cuba, Ortega told reporters in June he wasn’t aware of any… The next month, a dissident tried to deliver a list of political prisoners to Ortega during a July 4 party at the residence of the top U.S. diplomat in Havana. The cardinal refused to accept it, telling reporters it wasn’t the appropriate forum. The dissident said Ortega threatened to call security and have him thrown out.
Opinion: The pope, the US, the EU have all turned their backs on the Cuban dissidents. So, just who are these dissidents?
Article 144.2 of the Cuban Penal Code defines Contempt: an offense which provides for a sentence of one to three years for anyone “who threatens, slanders, defames, insults or in any way offends or affronts, orally or in writing, the dignity or decorum… the President of the State Council, the President of the National Assembly of People’s Power, members of the State Council or the Council of Ministers or the Deputies to the National Assembly People Power.”
Imagine speaking against our current Obama presidency (just listen to the Rep. presidential debates) and then being arbitrarily arrested countless times, arbitrarily having your home searched, being under constant police surveillance and harassment, and then being held in custody for many months or years without a trial or formal charges.
That is what happens to those who criticize or protest any facet of Castro’s Cuba. That is the “crime” of Cuban dissidents.
When/if this totalitarian nightmare finally ends, the Catholic Church hierarchy will be indicted by the people as supporters of the Castro regime.
And Cubans, as they did after independence from Spain, will once again view the Church as having been on the wrong side of history.