Cuban Cardinal Says Too Little Too Late
After many years of shameful passivity,
Earlier this week, the head of
Ortega, 73, said that
In the interview, the cardinal addressed the international turmoil around the recent death of
Ortega repeated earlier calls by
According to the cardinal, the role of
"The tragic death of a prisoner because of a hunger strike has triggered a verbal war from U.S., Spanish and other media," the cardinal stated. "This strong media campaign contributes to exacerbating the crisis even more. It's a form of media violence, to which the Cuban government responds in its own way."
Media violence? I asked myself when I read those lines. Is he blaming the international media for reporting the death of a hunger striker who was rotting in prison for voicing his opinions? Is he accusing the world media of reporting the plight of Fariñas, who stopped eating to demand that the Cuban regime release the 26 of more than 200 prisoners of conscience who require urgent medical care?
Is the cardinal blaming international media for noting that
Intrigued, I called Fariñas to ask him about his reaction to Ortega's statements. Fariñas was obviously glad that the cardinal had gone a little bit farther than usual in his statements, but wasn't exactly elated.
The cardinal's statements "were timid," Fariñas told me. "He himself was a political prisoner once, and he knows how political prisoners are being mistreated, how they are being beaten by the same people who are in power today."
Why do you think Ortega is so timid? I asked. "Because the Church hierarchy does not want to lose the handful of benefits that it has gotten from the government, such as permission to do seminars, some spaces on the radio and occasional appearances on television. I'm talking about the Church hierarchy because we can't say the same of the priests in the countryside."
Fariñas concluded that "the Church should put out a stronger statement about what's going on in
My opinion: Judging from the format and content of the cardinal's remarks -- a seemingly informal interview with the
From my own interviews with Cuban bishops and priests in the past, I know for a fact that many of them regard Ortega as too soft on
They -- and Fariñas -- are definitely right.
Ortega will go down in history as a Church leader who shied away from that basic mission. His statements are welcome, but he's no hero in my book.
- Enforcing Human Rights for World's Poor
- The Geography of Chinese Power
- The Rise of Asia's Universities
- On Israel: Obama Playing the Middle East Game Wrong
- What's Happening With Israel?
- Exaggeration of Iranian Threat Could Have Dire Consequences
- Obama's Nuclear Policy Enhances America's Moral Position and Security
- New Obama Nuclear Policy Could Spur Proliferation and Harm America
- U.S. and Russia Should Share Anti-Iran Missile Defense
- Obama's Promise to Work With Foreign Governments
- The NATO Nuisance
- Cuban Cardinal Says Too Little Too Late
- The Starving Armenians
- Arizona's Anti-Immigrant Law Will Spark Hispanic Exodus
- Open Season on Latinos in Arizona
- Obama Criticism of Arizona Immigration Law Ignores Federal Incompetence
- Mexico's Big Hope: Get 5 Million U.S. Retirees
- U.S. Latin Policy: Big Gestures and Little Substance
- Latin America Must Diversify Trade With China
- Cuba After Fidel and Raul Castro
- China Should Be Ashamed of Its Aid to Haiti
- Mexico Facing Six Wars Not Just One
- Mexican Violence Rising but Less Than in Washington
- Colombian Race Rhetoric Could End up Aiding Hugo Chavez
- Some Latin Currencies May Be Too Strong
- Trees for Haiti Campaign Starts -- Slowly
- Drug Cartels Don't Die; They Just Move
- Dissident's Death Will Put Cuba on the Spot
- Earthquake May Delay Chile's First World Goal
- Brazil Election to Offer Definite Contrast
- U.S. Foreign Aid Cutback Plan Sends Wrong Message
- Hubris Behind Brazil's Ties With Iran
- Time to Make the OAS More Effective
- Venezuela Needs a Violeta Chamorro
- Haiti: Reforestation Should Be Part of Rebuilding Process
- Pentagon Wrestles With Haiti Relief
- President Porfirio Lobo Might Put End to Honduran Crisis
- Chile's Sebastian Pinera Unlikely to Be South American Silvio Berlusconi
- Corruption Puts Argentines in Sour Mood
- Latin America's Economy Risks a Chicken's Flight in 2010
- Latin America: For Trade, Obama Doesn't Look South
- Latin America: For Chavez, Money no Longer Buys Love
- U.S. May Take New Look at 'War on Drugs'
- Brazil, United States, OAS Flunked Honduras Test
- New Corruption Ranking Says a Lot
- Latin America Sends Few Students to United States
- Latin America: Street Blockades Breed 'Anything-Goes' Culture
- Economic Risk in 7 Countries Spooking Investors
- Earthquake Buries Progress in Haiti
- Beyond Haitian Relief Effort, How to Fix Haiti
- Haiti Needs a Version of the Marshall Plan
- Tough Love Only Long-Term Cure for Haiti
(c) 2010, The Miami Herald DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES