Editorial: Francis and the Dynasty
Pope Francis's first speech following his arrival in Havana was, to borrow from Jose Martí, one endorsing dialogue and convergence, and opposing dynasties and factions. Despite this purported aspiration, the Pope chose not to meet or speak with opponents of the regime. His visit to and meeting with with Fidel Castro and his family were a gesture of support for the dynasty that has been ruling Cuba for more than half a century.
Lacking any public office and holed up in his mansion, Fidel Castro is nothing more than the legitimator of a dynasty, yet Pope Francis appeared to support that source. In his homily at the Basilica Menor del Santuario de la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre he related the Church's evangelization work to that of the Cuban revolution, devolved into a dictatorship, in an effort to appease it. “Our revolution is one of tenderness,” he said.
Assisted by a cardinal who denies the existence of political prisoners in the country, the Pope did not dedicate one minute to the regime's opponents, nor did he even mention human rights violations. Even prior to his arrival in Cuba, his visit gave rise to arrests by State police, about which he said nothing. When the Apostolic Nunciature finally ended up inviting some opponents to meet with the Pontiff, and they were detained by the government's underlings, neither did this interference spur the Pope to protest or complain.
We are talking about, of course, words in public, which are those that matter in these cases. In the same way that the Pope has mediated between the governments of Cuba and the USA. for the reestablishment of relations between them, he also bears a responsibility to intercede on behalf of the Cuban people and its congregations in response to the State's abuses. But Francis failed to speak out regarding these violations, his visit to Cuba promising to serve as a pretext for even more.
If it was political caution that explains his silence, if he held his tongue in the interest of Cuban-American relations, or in order to augment even further the Catholic Church's influence in Cuba, one can only imagine the magnitude of the indignities that will be considered justified under these new relationships, and the role that the Church will play, abetted by the educational system and the media, at the service not of the Cuban people, but the Castro dynasty.