Cuba and religion trends
- Submitted by: admin
- Politics and Government
- 12 / 27 / 2009
We met briefly with Cuban government officials as well as the head of the American Interests Section in Havana.
The main purpose of the visit, however, was to meet with church officials to express to them our solidarity and to offer them our support as they continue to seek to expand the space in which the church operates.
At a press conference held in Havana at the retreat house where we stayed, reporters asked a variety of questions. What was our position on the embargo? No change: Both the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as well as the Cuban bishops have been opposed to the economic embargo for decades. It has failed to change policy but has inflicted needless suffering on the Cuban population.
Cuba's Roman Catholic cardinal will read a Christmas message on state television for the second straight year, another small sign the once officially atheist communist government is warming to religion.
During the Wednesday broadcast, Cardinal Jaime Ortega will give thanks that more island families can welcome relatives living in the United States this holiday after the administration of President Barack Obama loosened restrictions on Cuban-Americans who want to travel or send money to the island.
The full message airing on government-controlled television was confirmed by Orlando Marquez, spokesman for Havana's conference of Bishops, who said authorities also will show a Christmas concert held last week at the National Cathedral.