The Missions of the Cardinal / Mario Barroso
Mario Barroso, Translator: Unstated
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,
ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40
In those years of UMAP*, when Mr. Jaime Ortega was one more in the
concentration camps, no one would have imagined that the last but most
important mission of what some still call the Revolution, would be
carried out by him.
Last year around this time (May 2011) the Mitred One went to Europe as a
messenger of the regime to try to use his influence to eliminate what is
called the European Common Position, a logical reaction of the old
continent before the excesses of the misrule in Cuba.
He carried with him the boast of having accomplished the release, in
2010, of fifty-two prisoners of the group of seventy-five from the Black
Spring of 2003, and others as well, with such pretension, convenient to
the political monopoly in Cuba, that he arrogantly usurped the true
merit of Orlando Zapata Tamayo's death, the challenge by women armed
only with gladioli, and Mr. Guillermo Fariñas's fast.
The cardinal's cassock was used by the regime to manage the negotiations
of one of its biggest quagmires of recent times; but still not
satisfied, they tried to also use it as a substitute for their
ineffective Minister of Foreign Affairs in their efforts to extract
urgently needed money from Europe in anticipation of a possible
Venezuelan debacle, now imminent.
It was precisely during the Cardinal's European mission that God allowed
this writer to be with, on Cuba Street in Santa Clara, Juan Wilfredo
Soto Garcia, a man dying as a consequence of a severe beating that had
been previously announced during Fariñas's fast, and that had been
carried out by his executioners on the morning of May 5th.
Arriving before the death of the victim, I tweeted in real time that
same morning the news of the assassination that ultimately took his
life, in the early morning hours between the 7th and 8th of May. The
frustrated impunity for the extrajudicial execution of Juan Wilfredo
Soto Garcia ruined the European mission of the Cardinal. Those who had
sent him destroyed his efforts with the bungling of another death, but
what can one expect from a dictatorship accustomed to such methods from
its very beginning?
Since the death of Soto Garcia, at least two other notorious deaths have
pointed the finger of accusation at the regime: Laura Pollán (October
14, 2011) and Wilman Villar Mendoza (January 19, 2012). Despite this
Benedict XVI appeared on the island, and not precisely to condemn the
crimes of the regime, as some hoped, but to reclaim ground lost to his
church no one doubts, but conceding, on the part of the Vatican, the
granting of undeserved rites to a system characterized by the oppression
and defrauding of its people.
This new mission of the Cardinal was accomplished with success in the
eyes of its beneficiaries, who even offered him the pages of its red
daily newspaper, the same one that for decades has denied him and the
rest of the churches the right to media.
As well as promoting the Pope's blessing on those who one day dreamed,
evoking Lenin, of the disappearance of religion, one of the most
repugnant things under the sun, the Cardinal behaved exactly like a
member of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution, delivering in
the hands of the wolf the desperate sheep who sought protection within
the walls of some of his temples. Not satisfied with that, he
undoubtedly gave the nod to the entire wave of repression that erupted
simultaneously with the Pope's visit, of which I was one of the hundreds
Added to the visit of the leader of the Catholic world was that of the
pilgrims from the other side of the Florida Straits, some of whom seemed
enamored with what appeared to them to be a poor government overwhelmed
by the imperial boot of its neighbors to the north.
As a corollary addendum to this successful mission of the Cardinal and
evidence in addition to that above, the U.S. Conference of Catholic
Bishops has issued a letter to President Obama requesting the lifting of
the blockade against the Cuban regime, just when they should have
complemented it with another request asking that the Cuban blockade
against its own people be lifted.
This time the spring mission of the Cardinal was with the brutal and
turbulent North, truing to get what, exactly a year earlier, he had
failed to get from Europe. The robe wanders around North American with
total solemnity and dares to sneer on a visit to Harvard University
itself, branding as criminals and even semi-literates those sheep that
he handed over to the wolf before the Papal visit.
No wonder those whom he returns to represent couldn't avoid coming out
in defense of their bishop in media such as the website CubaSí, in
response to the logical reactions of those who have gone so far as to
ask even the Vatican for the immediate removal of its servant.
Clearly Jaime Ortega is trying to get, this time, what not even Fidel
himself at the beginning of his adventure obtained in his tour in those
same parts, though at the cost, then, of denying that he intended to
implement Communism here, and saying that his beard was not in imitation
of Karl Marx's but rather of Lincoln's.
The agents of the Wasp Network didn't have orders as urgent as this.
Taken together, all of the international missions of the past would not
have coveted a goal as high as that of the success of this one,
depending on one of the last cards the regime has to play in its
desperation to survive.
If the Catholic Church has political pretensions in a post-Castro Cuba
and wants to gain an advantage with the figure of its Cardinal, it is
not giving him a clean slate for it. If this is the smooth transition to
which Benedict XVI himself alluded from afar before arriving in Cuba,
the Pope is sadly mistaken.
The despicable role of the leader of the Cuban Catholic Church does no
favors to the hundreds of its practitioners who work daily to alleviate
the pain of the people, and it stains the Church, in its present
history, a stain that will not escape future analysis, much less that of
He to whom we all must give an account of ourselves, especially when we
have been given greater responsibility.
*UMAP = "Military Units in Aid of Production." These were Cuban forced
labor camps for homosexuals, religious believers, and others considered
"counterrevolutionary." They operated between 1965 and 1968.
May 4 2012