This past week Pope Benedict visited Cuba. Focusing on just the purpose of the trip and the mission of the Church on the island, it was a successful trip. I think it did a lot more but we’ll leave those thoughts for another post. In the ivory towers of official Washington, elitist universities, as well as small pockets of the blogosphere, however, the anti-Catholic screed was at an all time high.
The noise was especially piercing in my former hometown of Miami, Florida and, at times, coming from folks who I ordinarily agree with on U.S.-Cuba policy. One well-known Ivy league university professor, whose writings I used to enjoy, prattled away with an item that belongs in the school of Catholic revisionism, not reality. Even long-time dissidents were singled out such as Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet and Marta Beatriz-Roque as not being tough enough on the Pope. Really?
One former Bush Administration dubbed it the Pope’s “sad trip to Cuba.” While other former Republican officials, also lamented the Pope’s decision not to meet with the opposition. Mind you, some of these former GOPers used to advocated regime change through the Varela Project – a quixotic scheme that would use the existing Communist Constitution to bring about change. Keep your change. This would only empower some of the very people that need to go. It is not just the Castros that are the problem.
Rather than engage in histrionics on what the Catholic Church should and should have not done, what about focusing on Brazilian businesses in Miami that also do business with the regime? Ironically, you could not hear a peep from folks about Brazilian President Rousseff’s visit to Cuba earlier this year praising the regime. Or why not take on the Israeli companies that are trafficking in U.S.-owned properties in Cuba? The same holds for the Spanish corporations? There is a lot of low-hanging political and economic fruit. Take aim.
Maybe I have been out of Miami for too long, but what are we doing politically eating our own? If folks would spend less time worrying about being at a Mitt Romney photo-op, or trying to line up jobs in a still a very uncertain Romney Administration, maybe, just maybe, the ire dished out on the Holy Father could be better focused to more productive projects that will truly help the opposition and freedom-seekers on the island.
Disagree all you want with the Church, as with any political organization Federalist 51 applies to it. Lobby, as futile as the effort will be, for the resignation of Cardinal Ortega, he should have been removed a long time ago. But leave the Catholic bigotry at bay. Focus that very powerful and creative energy we have toward doing something that should have been done a long time ago, push out the regime.
And while we are all at it, when is the Biscet for President effort going to be launched?