Agencia Destaque Internacional - Informes de Coyuntura - Año XII - No. 289 - Madrid, San José de Costa Rica - Santiago de Chile, 06 de enero de 2010 - It is permitted the free publication and redistribution of this article (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, e-mail, newspapers, web sites etc.), quoting the author: Armando F. Valladares. It is NOT necessary to quote Destaque Internacional. Responsable: Javier González.

Benedict XVI: "Beatification" of Castro's Internationalism?

If Communist Cuba continues to be a "shame of our time," how does one interpret, in that context, the recent papal allocution to the new Cuban ambassador? If, on the contrary, Cuba has ceased to be that "shame," what would be the most serious reasons that would have inspired such a change in interpretation of 180 degrees regarding a Communist state?

By Armando F. Valladares

1. The speech of Benedict XVI in receiving the diplomatic credentials of the new ambassador of Communist Cuba, Eduardo Delgado Bermúdez (cf. "Le lettere credenziali dell'Ambasciatore di Cuba presso la Santa Sede," Press Office of the Holy See, December 10, 2009, with the complete text of the allocution in Spanish), was little publicized by the press and received practically no commentaries.

2. Nevertheless, the above-mentioned allocution deserves the maximum attention because it shows an aspect of the pontificate of Benedict XVI, considered by many as conservative, which until now has received little emphasis; because it constitutes a reaffirmation of the Vatican diplomacy's incomprehensible policy of détente in relation to the Cuban regime since the first years of the bloody revolution, a diplomacy that has probably had a role and a fundamental responsibility in the writing of this allocution; and because the words of the Pontiff will be able to have serious consequences, not only for the future of Communist Cuba, but for that of Latin America, in the measure in which in one way or another they benefit the Chavist-Castrist-Evist-Correíst-Orteguist "axis of evil."

3. The Holy Father, after having referred with deference to the dictator Raúl Castro, highlights the "determined prominence" that Communist Cuba would continue having in the "political context" of Latin America. In that sense, in the text by the Pontiff, praise is given to the Cuban regime for "continuing to offer its contribution to numerous countries," with an attitude that would favor and encourage prompt "cooperation and international solidarity." As the Pontiff seems to interpret it, that cooperation and international solidarity would be disinterested, loyal and sincere to the point that they would not be subordinated "to interests other than the very aid given to the needy populations."

4. Nevertheless, with the maximum respect due to the papal benevolence, such as will be verified subsequently, the interpretation of an alleged Cuban disinterest is seen to be flagrantly contradicted by the very definition of "internationalism" included in the Constitution of that country, a definition that certainly is in no way disinterested and is not reduced to a simple intention of "giving assistance" to "those in need."

Already in its Preamble, the Constitution of Cuba clarifies its intrinsically harmful sense when it defines the "proletarian internationalism" as the matrix that inspires the numerous revolutionary adventures prompted in so many countries of Latin America and Africa, qualified as "heroic" by the same Constitution but which, in reality, as is well known, were and continue to be synonymous with blood, revolutions, and more misery for those in need.

In order to leave no doubts, the Communist Constitution, in its article 12, takes up again and "makes its own" those "internationalist principles" praised in the Preamble, clarifying that they go hand in hand, without possible separation, with the "anti-imperialist principles" (number 2), that is to say, revolutionary principles. And it goes so far in the same article as to justify not only the "legitimacy" of "armed resistance" but also assumes the "internationalist duty" (number 4) to support those revolutionary movements, something that Communist Cuba has completed to the letter, in the most cruel way possible.

5. In an acquittal of the above charge, it could be argued that the allocution pronounced by Benedict XVI refers specifically to two "vital areas," defined in that speech, respectively, as "teaching literacy" and "health." In reality, the above with difficulty would constitute an acquittal but, rather, an aggravating circumstance. In fact, just as numerous academic studies have shown, and as the Cuban Constitution itself recognizes, education and health, those so celebrated and publicized "achievements" so-called of Cuban Communism, have been two satanic claws of social, mental, and psychological control of youth and adults, during five long decades of the Castro revolution. For this reason, to internationalize those psychological claws, as is being done by the regimes in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and other countries of the Latin-American "axis of evil," is of the most profound gravity.

If there were any doubt on the matter, article 39 of the current Constitution resolves it: the Communist State "foments and promotes education" exclusively in function of the "Marxist ideology," with the implacable objective of "promoting" the "Communist formation of the new generations" (number 1 and 3), in reality, a supreme moral and spiritual deformation.

What would therefore be the essence of that Cuban "leadership" mentioned above in the speech of Benedict XVI? Christian peace, welfare and prosperity? Or chaos, subversion and all the other forms of anti-Catholic neo-revolution inspired and prompted from Cuba? How can we understand the papal emphasis on that "leadership," in an explicitly laudatory context, almost as if to say the "beatification" of Cuban internationalism?

6. But the painful surprises of the papal speech are not only those. Subsequently, it would seem that the Pontiff tries to minimize the true cause of the situation of extreme misery of Communist Cuba, diluting it into the "serious international crisis," the "devastating effects" of the "natural disasters," and the so-called American "economic embargo." At the same time he omits the deep cause of the Cuban misery, which is an economic system that applies an implacable "internal embargo" against the population through the abolition of the private property and the asphyxiation of free enterprise.

7. Regarding the "concrete signs" of "opening up to the exercise of the religious liberty" that the Pontiff emphasizes as favorable aspects of the situation of Cuban Catholics, I take the liberty to recall the ominous article 62 of the Constitution, that constitutes an implacable legal-penal "turnstile" against all "liberties," including and primarily "religious liberty," which it cynically offers the unhappy inhabitants of the island-jail. That article literally constitutes a threat: "None of the liberties" recognized for Cubans will be able to be exercised "either against the existence and end of the socialist State, or against the decision of the Cuban people to build socialism and Communism," warning that "the infraction of this principle is punishable." In Cuba from word to fact there has never been a long interval. That "punishment" has become the reality against hundreds and thousands of opponents that have been murdered before the "firing squad" or who passed through the dungeons of the state; against so many other political prisoners who remain in them; against the Ladies in White, who are mothers, wives and sisters of political prisoners, humiliated and beaten in the streets of Havana; and including recently against young bloggers of the island.

8. August 6, 1984, the then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, in his "Instruction on Some Aspects of the 'Theology of Liberation,'" diagnosed in a clear and categorical manner, as if describing the Cuban reality of today: "Millions of our contemporaries aspire legitimately to recover the fundamental liberties of which they have been deprived by atheistic and totalitarian states that have taken over power by violent and revolutionary means, precisely in the name of the liberation of the people. This shame of our time cannot be ignored: pretending to bring liberty they keep entire nations in conditions of slavery unworthy of man." And the current Pontiff concluded in a horrifying manner: "Those who become accomplices of such forms of slavery, perhaps unconsciously, betray the poor whom they try to serve."

Today, twenty-six years after he had inspired, dictated and signed that brilliant analysis, the question that must be raised is if in the mind of the then Prefect of so exalted a Roman Congregation and now the Pope, Communist Cuba continues to be or not a "shame of our time." If Cuba continues being precisely that, how does one understand, in that context, the above mentioned affirmations of the recent papal allocution to the new Cuban ambassador? If, on the contrary, Communist Cuba has ceased to be a "shame of our time," what would be the most important reasons that would have inspired such a change of 180 degrees regarding intrinsic characteristics of that regime?

9. One could comment on other aspects no less important of the papal speech, which, sadly, are not less painful. Those comments, always respectful, can be presented at another opportunity, if the circumstances so require it.

10. I express finally the anguish that the reference to the "uninterrupted" relations between the Holy See and the Cuban regime have caused me. Passing through my memory, as in a tragic film, were decades of episodes of the Vatican's policy of détente with Communist Cuba, with the pilgrimage of so many high prelates, cardinals and secretaries of state, including the current one, several of whom went so far as to pay slanted compliments to the tyrant Fidel Castro and to the supposed "achievements" of the regime; as well as so many gestures of Communist-Catholic collaboration, led by the present Cardinal of Havana, His Eminence Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino. Also, evoking that period of "uninterrupted" relations, the cries of young Catholic martyrs echoed in my ears, as if made today, those who were executed at the "firing squad" of the sinister La Cabaña, and who died proclaiming "Long live Christ the King! Down with Communism!" And I recalled the episode of the three young Garcia Marín brothers, who in December of 1980 sought asylum in the Nunciature of Havana, being subsequently withdrawn from there with promises of liberty and of personal security, by people who entered dressed in ecclesiastical attire, in the Nunciature's own car. In reality, they were not clergymen but agents of the Cuban political police who snatched them from the Nunciature by means of deceit, to be savagely tortured and finally shot. I relate that episode in my Memoirs and, until today, I have not been contradicted (cf. A. Valladares, "Contra toda esperanza," Plaza & Janés, Barcelona, 1985, chapter 48, p. 416).

11. Already I have stated in previous articles on the policy of détente of the Vatican with the Cuban regime, and I reiterate it with special emphasis in this respectful and anguished analysis: As a Catholic, as a Cuban and as a former political prisoner it pains me enormously to express this kind of public consideration, which I make as an inescapable discharge of my duty, with all the devotion due to the Chair of Peter. It causes pain and laceration perhaps greater than the worst physical tortures that I received for twenty-two years in the Cuban dungeons, because spiritual suffering is even more profound than the physical.

Armando Valladares, writer, painter and poet. He spent twenty-two years in the political jails of Cuba. He was an ambassador of the United States before the UN Human Rights Commission under the Reagan and Bush administrations. He received the Presidential Medal of Citizenship and the Superior Honor Award of the State Department. Recently in Rome he was offered the ISCHIA International Prize of Journalism and, in Tegucigalpa, the Order José Cecilio del Valle, in the degree of Commander, the highest distinction than Honduras offers to a foreigner.