History of vatican and cuba relationship

Cuba–Holy See relations - Wikipedia

history of vatican and cuba relationship

He had been baptized and was taught biblical history and Catholic catechism. It restarted a relationship between Cuba and the Vatican — a. The hasty synopsis of Cuban history made in the interview is deplorable: before relations between the Cuban state and the Catholic Church!. In the s, Cuba's relations with the region were basically characterized by its Guerra Vilaboy, Head of the Department of History at the University of Hav . .. also permitted a much better understanding between Cuba and the Vatican.

But it followed its own trajectory with respect to support to liberation movements and guerrilla warfare. But it continued to follow the course the leadership thought was appropriate: The icy relations with the Catholic episcopate in Cuba slowly melted and that paved the way to a rapport with the United States during the Obama administration.

Cuba–Holy See relations

This article is especially concerned with the Cuban-Latin American relationship and the role of the countries in the region in the long period of diplomatic defrosting. The interviews refer to two categories of persons: The decade of the s 7The Cuban Revolution began as a revolt against a hated dictator, supported by the American government.

Urban insurgency movements and a rural guerrilla succeeded in surviving a repressive political police apparatus and to wage war against a massive counterinsurgency deployment. It took more than two years before the new government declared Cuba a socialist country.

The USA had followed the progression of the Cuban reforms and its radicalization process with growing uneasiness. It interpreted its internal trajectory as a march towards communism. Already in December the Eisenhower administration approved an action plan to overthrow Castro. Soviet Vice-Premier Mikoyan visited Cuba in February and three months later diplomatic relations with Moscow were instituted. The Soviet Union also started to provide economic and military support.

In Aprila battle group of 1, paramilitary mercenaries, trained in Guatemala and Nicaragua, invaded Cuba. But Fidel Castro had mobilized the army and the newly created militias. After two days of severe fighting the invaders surrendered with the loss of dead and 1, captured. Exactly one day before, Castro, addressing a speech to an audience of a million people, declared the country a socialist one under enormous applause.

A Brief History of U.S. - Cuba Relations

When the Kennedy administration was informed about their presence and launching capacity, the president ordered a naval blockade. Under the threat of a nuclear war, the Soviet and the American governments cut a secret deal. The Cuban leadership was informed by the international press and felt humiliated Ramonet I. The Soviet Union overcame the situation with increasing grants and military assistance. It was also accompanied by a diplomatic quarantine.

history of vatican and cuba relationship

All Latin American countries ruptured their diplomatic relations with Cuba, with the exception of Mexico 3. But everywhere in the Caribbean and in Latin America, regular armies, police detachments and paramilitary units succeeded in defeating or at least isolating all existing guerrilla movements in these years, generally after barbaric counterinsurgency campaigns. The changing context in the s and s 14In the s Cuba initiated a new approach of more flexibility and pragmatism with respect to Latin America and the Soviet Union.

The Cuban leadership imported a substantial number of Soviet experts. Housing, medical previsions, schools and universities, electricity, domestic telephone provision, sports and cultural facilities, radio, TV, and even clothing were provided by the state. A professional could earn pesos rubles per month; a secretary went home with pesos. Transport was becoming a problem, but one could win a Lada car by merit 7. But whatever influence the Soviet Union had, Castro maintained a relatively independent course with respect to Latin America and the Caribbean.

As Soviet intelligence officials observed as well, Castro was never an obedient disciple of Soviet politics Pavlov Y. At the peak of expansion, by the end of the s and during its Africa campaigns, the armed forces had betweenandmembers. Furthermore, man for man during the s and s, it may have been the best and most experienced fighting force of any small nation, with the single exception of Israel Latell B. The student generations and the radicalizing Catholics were appealed by the anti-imperialist arguments of the dependency theorists.

Liberation Theology was even more influential in the hearts and minds of large segments of the Latin American population. The influence of the new theology on center-left and far-left groups of the existing and new revolutionary movements is conclusive.

In Central America Liberation Theology was of enormous influence. Half of the circa forty Nicaraguan comandantes were recruited by radicalized priests. In Guatemala Jesuit and Maryknoll priests were organizing Mayan communities.

Many young guerrilla leaders were recruited from the Central American student movement Kruijt D. Archbishop Romero was assassinated in while celebrating mass; he and several other killed Jesuit priests San Salvador were also incorporated into the rows of Latin American revolutionary heroes and martyrs. It was time to pay attention to the nationalist-leftists regimes and movements: We realized that by being more open-minded and using a more delicate tone, we penetrated sectors to which we otherwise would never have gotten access.

American visitors and students came to the island with the Brigada Venceremos, and Europeans with the Brigada Europa. Later, the Brigada Latinoamericana was founded. During a long period we maintained good relations with many of the progressive religious believers of the continent.

A large number came to Cuba and it facilitated the ideological and political insight of Cubans into that even so important issue. In the early s, the ICAP co-organized solidarity flights from Brazil with theologists Frei Betto and Leonardo Boff who celebrated massaccompanied by entrepreneurs, politicians, students and artists.

ICAP also assisted in masses celebrated by progressive priests with solidarity groups from Argentina and Colombia But now it explicitly tried to create politico-military umbrella organizations: Cuba managed to resume diplomatic relations with various Latin American countries: Venezuela reinstated its embassy in Havana in December and Colombia in March InCosta Rica resumed bilateral consular relations.

Some countries suspended their bilateral relations temporarily: Colombia and Costa Rica In the s and s, all Latin American countries had established or renewed their diplomatic relations. The English speaking independent or recently independent states were and are sympathetic to Cuba. Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago took the collective decision to inaugurate diplomatic relations with the country in December During its decades-long dictatorship, the two countries of the former Hispaniola had suspended Haiti or ruptured Dominican Republic their diplomatic relations; they normalized their relations in Haiti and Dominican Republic After the coup inArgentina maintained diplomatic relations with Cuba and delivered strategic goods to the island.

When Mattini, the last comandante of the ERP, asked the Cuban leadership for support, it was denied Economic and military support by the Soviets continued on a diminishing scale afterbut fell dramatically by the end ofwhen the Soviet Union morphed into Russia.

history of vatican and cuba relationship

Delivery of new weapons and spare parts was very difficult; the only possibility to maintain operational condition of the military was cannibalizing older equipment. Fuel was restricted for emergency situations The Armed Forces were officially halved while the budget was cut in half Klepak H. A similar process occurred with respect to the military structures and the intelligence previsions within the Ministry of the Interior.

Inthe Special Forces of this ministry, the training specialists of the Latin American guerrilla in former decades, were dissolved. When in the late s the leadership of the Colombian M visited the island and asked for support, Fidel Castro told him frankly that the only solution was a political one, by means of peace negotiations: At that moment, Comandante Carlos Pizarro came to Cuba to ask for help.

Fidel told him that he should pursue a negotiated political solution. In his view, at that moment there were very few possibilities for a politico-military organisation to come to power by means of weapons, as had [once] happened in Cuba and Nicaragua Chavez decided to buy the ticket himself Cuba continued to maintain diplomatic relations throughout the world. While cutting its training assistance to the insurgency movements in the region, it intensified its medical assistance to Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.

And it used its international prestige to act as peace facilitator in Central America and Colombia where guerrilla and counterinsurgency operations continued in the s and thereafter.

In fact, Cuba had always been a kind of medical facility receiving and revalidating wounded and crippled guerrilla militants in the region. After the Chernobyl disaster, Castro offered to assist the then infant victims and it is still doing it.

Even political enemies were offered medical treatment. The military missions in Africa had always been accompanied by medical and literacy campaigns, but on a lesser scale. Kirk calculated that … in all, overmedical professionals from Cuba have worked [in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia]. Between andthere were some 50, of them including 25, doctors working in over 60 developing countries. Significantly 69 percent of Cuban doctors have participated in at least one mission abroad … Kirk J.

The first Cuban medical mission abroad was in Algeria Already byaround 2, Cuban health personnel worked abroad; in there were around 3, But in the mids it started to attract students from other continents and, between andthe annual number of ELAM graduates was around 3, This does not seem possible to me, because Mr.

Roa's assertions are in conflict with other statements from higher Cuban officials that tend to create a much different climate. So the ambassador's declarations appear to have been inopportune, if not imprudent. This is an unpleasant surprise, and I want to reemphasize our total rejection of the content of his words and his flippant and wholly undiplomatic tone.

Are you at all embarrassed about remembering your friend Che Guevara while, in your capacity as ambassador, you find yourself playing the role of bridge-builder for dialogue between Cuba and the Holy See? I represent the government of Cuba, which has had relations with the Holy See for 70 years.

These relations have been uninterrupted, and we have never considered severing diplomatic ties with the Vatican. We even hope that in the near future we will deepen these relations and make them even more fluid. Cuba's relations with the Holy See have always worked well, especially during the period of the successful revolution of There was a problem with the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Cuba frombut it was precisely the Holy See's representative in Havana, Bishop Cesare Zacchi, who later became nuncio, together with my predecessor at the embassy to the Holy See, Luis Amado Blanco, who built bridges between the two parties.

I think that my service of Cuban diplomacy at the Holy See is situated in this tradition of dialogue, with the objective of building bridges of mutual understanding between the Vatican and the Cuban government. And so the fact that I was one of Che Guevara's friends since my early youth doesn't cause any sort of problem, not even in terms of my current activity as ambassador to the Holy See. Che was neither a dogmatist nor a fanatic. He was a genuine revolutionary concerned with the liberation of every man, and did not believe himself to be a prophet or consider himself a saint.

It is true that he was not a Catholic, but he was a broad-minded intellectual, a man who understood the things of the world, who was interested in everything, who understood very well what role religion plays in Latin American society, and also in Cuba. Do you think that the elements of thought and culture you share with Che Guevara will be useful to you in representing your country at the Holy See?

I ought to explain that when I met Che in Mexico inwe especially talked about literature, philosophy, and politics. He had, instead, a great Cuban friend, who was also a member of the 26th of July Movement, who later died during the battle in the Sierra Maestra mountains.

This friend was the one who introduced us, and through him I met Che. At the time, Guevara was not connected to the Cuban revolution. He was connected instead to the Latin American revolution, something that had not yet come to fruition, but he longed for it ardently.

We who were in exile in Mexico also longed for revolution. I was then a young man of It was a group of exiled Latin Americans: There were many Argentinians, and many others of various origins brought together by revolutionary ideals.

It was in this group that we dealt with Che on an intellectual level. He had struck up a friendship with my father, who at the time was a professor at the university of Havana. My familiarity with Che began in this context of fervid intellectual initiative. In what way have the experience and understanding you took from the revolution been useful for finding points of convergence with the Holy See? From the beginning, it situated itself within the prior Cuban revolutionary tradition, which began inwith an important milestone in It began in with Manuel De Cespedes, the father of this country and great-grandfather of present-day bishop Carlos Manuel De Cespedes.

One hundred years later, inFidel Castro declared that these early revolutionaries 'would be as we are today, as we would have been like them back then'.

There are both continuity and novelty in this revolution. They gave a special character to the Cuban revolution, which was permeated by both Marti's humanism and Manuel De Cespede's ideals, which were close to those of the French revolution. I think these figures represent the foundation of our revolution, which later, with the unfolding of time, became a socialist revolution.

I have always thought that any revolution of the twentieth century, even if it had not been communist, could not help but be socialist.

The Long Itinerary to Normalization: The Cuban – Latin American Relations

I don't agree much with the regimes of Eastern Europe, because I have never been a Stalinist. The socialistic objective of the Cuban revolution was, in my opinion, unavoidable. Just like socialist and Marxist humanism — because man is the root of everything for a true socialist. Man is the essence of the revolution.

What we want to do is develop man, and the progress in every field that enters into public opinion over time must recognize the centrality of man.

This entire heritage of humanist ideas, which constitutes for me the true tradition of the Cuban revolution, permits me now to have cordial relationships and mutual understanding with my friends at the Vatican secretariat of state. And I can certainly understand their thought, even if we do not always agree about everything. That would be impossible anyway.

I am a socialist, and the Church is not socialist and does not fight for socialism. So from a cultural point of view, there is no obstacle to understanding each other. Have you had the impression that there have been reservations on the part of the Vatican over the situation in Cuba and decisions made there?

I met him personally in orwhen I was at Castel Gandolfo with ambassador Luis Amado Blanco for an audience. He understood it perfectly, having come from a farming background himself, and he had no difficulty giving us encouragement. Nor did Pope Paul VI or any of the other pontiffs ever take a position contrary to the Cuban revolution. But one must acknowledge that relations between the Holy See and Cuba have always worked well, even if there have been mental reservations on the revolution.

We do not have, in fact, the same position and the same understanding of history. Why is it that relations between the Cuban government and the Holy See, which is far away from the island, are better than those between the government and the Cuban Church? It is important to make this distinction. In general, the priests are close to the people, while some of the bishops are instead close to the people of Miami, to the Cubans who have emigrated.

And this is a shame. Because I believe the Church should work with the people who live in Cuba, a revolutionary people that has always supported the revolution. Some of them may not agree, but they are a minority among Cubans. But some of the bishops think like the Cubans who have emigrated to Miami, retaining the mentality that preceded the revolution, which historically has always produced a certain distance between the Church and the Cuban people. At the time of the struggle for independence, the Catholic Church in Cuba was dominated by Spain, and so it was against independence.

Then when Cuba became a republic under the neocolonial influence of the United States, the Church there continued to serve foreign powers, joining itself to the Cubans who in turn were connected to America. After the revolution ofwhen Cuba won full independence for the first time in its history, a part of the Church, and especially the hierarchy, did not understand the revolution. This is partly because at that time some of the Spanish priests on the island were Franco supporters, and we expelled them because they had begun to conspire actively against the revolution.

The Vatican and Cuba: A History of Ups and Downs

I should acknowledge that there are members of the hierarchy and the clergy who are true Cuban patriots. They may not be socialists, but they are certainly patriots, and they understand what has been achieved through the revolution from the social, educational, and scientific point of view.

These churchmen are in favor of, not against, this sort of progress.

history of vatican and cuba relationship

They are our critics on other matters. And then there are priests who in general are close to the people and who in their practical daily lives are not in conflict with the government, even if they do not share its ideology. You are said to be a friend of Fidel Castro.