Over at the American Spectator, William Murchison asks: A ‘Damascus Road’ Vision for Castro? It’s a good read. Murchison poses the question after Cuban Communist dictator Raul Castro’s Sunday visit to the Holy See and said that he would consider returning to the faith. Don’t hold your breath. The entire visit, as is the cozying up to the Catholic Church during the past few years, is a ruse designed for one thing and one thing only, survival.
The atheist Left would love nothing more than to transpose the St. Paul conversion narrative onto the Castro brothers. It is a cold and calculated move to pollute the political narrative, a lobbying campaign if you will, that has absolutely nothing to do with a conversion. You see the international Left, devoid of ideas, still clings to visions of a socialist paradise on Earth. Cuba and its Communist leader, their last great hope.
They need to keep hope alive, just long enough, to assure a transition to a new generation of hardline Communists. They are ensconced, like those gargoyles one sees on the sides of gothic Churches, biding time. They need to keep Raul Castro alive, or out of jail, long enough to assure a transition to a new generation of leaders committed to defending, among other things, Article 5 of the Cuban Constitution:
The Communist Party of Cuba, Martian and of Marxist-Leninist, the organized vanguard of the Cuban nation, is the superior leading force of the society and the State, organizing and guiding the common efforts aimed at the highest goals of the construction of socialism and advancement toward the communist society.
How committed are these people to the construction of socialism and a communist society? Consider this. The Communist Party opted to hold the annual May Day parade a few weeks ago, while hundreds of thousands of Cubans in Havana, some along the parade route, were still recovering from devastating rain storms. According to an AP story, there was raw sewage in the streets and homes, as well as many families uprooted from their already crumbling homes. Rather than cancel the parade, the loyal Communists marched on. Not very Christian. There is an excellent piece at National Review Online by George Weigel today on this subject. Weigel lays out what a true Road to Damascus could look like in Cuba.
While Raul Castro visited the Holy Father at the Vatican, on a Sunday no less, the day of the week usually set aside for worship and rest (again, this entire visit was staged), the Communist Party ground troops in Havana were cracking down on religious and civil society groups. This is not new and will continue. I should know, I represent a non-Catholic Christian group that has targeted for ‘elimination’ the head of the Office of Religious Affairs of the Communist Party. In the Catholic Church, priests are even threatened by regime officials and told to refuse the sacraments to civil society leaders that try and attend Mass.
If Raul Castro wants to explore faith, after decades of assisting in an enterprise that has perpetuated crimes against the people of Cuba and, indeed, humanity, as well as the death of Americans, my suggestion is that he take a long retreat and meditate on his sins. You see my friends Raul Castro will say anything to avoid not only giving up power, but also, and especially to avoid rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. Why? Because Castro thinks he is Caesar, for starters.
Raul Castro, and those around him that have committed these atrocities throughout history, as well as those some of those that seek to succeed this lot, are scared. They are scared of ending up like bad actors such as Slobodan Milosevic, Augusto Pinochet, or even Saddam Hussein. Recall that the Nuremberg process after World War II put on trial the facilitators of the Nazi machine, not the maximum leader. In a failed state such as Cuba, a truth and justice process is an essential component of an essential transition.
I can find no better example of why U.S. policy toward Cuba, despite a lack of proper enforcement by political leaders, has succeeded, than the display by Castro and his advisors the past few months to cozy up with the United States and, especially, the Church. They’ve put together a roadmap for a faux transition, using U.S. law and policy as a guide, and the Church as the interlocutor in order to tick off conditions for normalization of relations with the United States. I wish the Church had done different, but that is just the way things happen in this world.
The fact remains that Christians believe that it is never too late to change one’s ways or repent for past wrongs. Our legal system even gives special treatment to statements made in imminent anticipation of death. Yet even if Raul Castro and the other evil doers make deathbed conversions someday, nothing changes the fact that they did harm to an entire nation. So between now and then, they must be held to account. The Left does not want this and they’ll do anything, even blaspheme, to make it so.
The encounter between Pope Francis and Raul Castro reminded of the story of Saint Wolfgang and the Devil, not St. Paul. Read about it. It is a story of how a Saint tricked the Devil …