I would encourage you to visit National Review Online and read Mrs. Yleem Poblete’s recent article on Cuba. A link to her article is found here. She wrote a great article on the matter of reconciliation as it relates to Cuba.
Like Jason and myself, Yleem is the daughter of Cuban exiles. This issue is very sensitive for those of us who were the first generation of our families that were born in the US. It is sensitive because our parents lived under both Batista and Castro. They knew the difference between the two governments. They knew friends or relatives who were killed by Fidel’s men or under the Che’s order. Their loss is real. We, as children of immigrants, are familiar with our parents’ stories.
The Vatican has been given credit with playing a role in the thawing the relations between the US and Cuba. While some in the Vatican may pat themselves in the back for their efforts, it is unfortunate that the Vatican is working from an improper understanding of reconciliation.
Reconciliation is more than just saying, “Sorry” or “Please forgive me.” Reconciliation requires not only the request for forgiveness, but it also requires a restoration of the person who has been harmed. It is a difficult process because of the pain that has been caused by one’s action. And it is hard for the victim to forgive. This is where one needs to rely on their faith to go through the tough decision to forgive.
The documentary “As We Forgive” teaches us on what true reconciliation looks like. The movie focused on the reconciliation process in Rwanda. Rwanda in 1994 was in the midst of a civil war. The majority Hutu tribe committed genocide against the Tutsi tribe. It is estimated that between 500,000 to 1,000,000 were killed.
“As We Forgive” focused on the reconciliation process involving two families that were victims of that genocide. For one, forgiveness was given to their attacker. For the other family, the pain was still fresh and forgiveness is not given. After the initial step of requesting forgiveness, the next step was the restoration of the victim. Keep in mind, the Rwandan genocide left many widows and orphans. In Rwanda’s economy, being a widow makes it difficult to get out of poverty.
Since the US opened its Embassy, the Cuban government has not made any efforts to apologize for the exiles for their actions. In fact, the Cuban government takes the position that they were the true victim because of the US embargo, never mind that the rest of the world does business in Cuba. Cuba continues to repress those calling for democracy in the island.
While this is happening, Cuba’s Cardinal is silent. The Vatican should have addressed the issue of the exiles and bringing democracy with Cuba. Instead, the Vatican played realpolitik. It is a shame that the Vatican Secretary of State acted more like Cardinal Richelieu rather than become the prophet that the church is called to become. It will be interesting what will happen when Pope Francis visits Cuba later this month.
Will Pope Francis address the issue of reconciliation or give his blessings to the Cuban government?