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Full Version: Cuba Removed From State-Sponsored Terror List
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I'm fairly certain that Cuba still clandestinely supports Marxist revolutionary groups like FARC and socialist revolutionary groups like ETA, so it is a somewhat curious move to take them off the state sponsored terror list. There's a lot of other things going on in Cuba that might make one feel trepidation when considering normalization of relations, such as their rigged electoral system and lack of a free press. I wonder if this move has anything to do with attempting to pull them out of Russia's sphere of influence.



My parents love going there for vacation, so I guess this is good news.
In other Cuba news, Raul Castro says he's so impressed with Pope Francis that he may start praying again. That is a fairly significant statement for him to make, and a statement I can't imagine Fidel would ever have made. If I were Catholic, I think Pope Francis would make me move away from the church, not closer to it. But alas I am not Christian, so it's one less thing I have to worry about.

Raul Castro may join Catholic Church, he says after Pope Francis meeting

By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN

Updated 8:18 AM ET, Thu May 14, 2015


(CNN)Cuba has eased its persecution of religion in the last 23 years, but there have been few overtures suggesting the country's executive office might be finding its faith.

That changed Sunday when President Raul Castro said the teachings of Pope Francis had persuaded him not only to take a softer line on religion, but perhaps to return to the Catholic Church and begin worshipping again as he once did, growing up in Jesuit schools.

"As I've already told my council of advisers, I read all of the pope's speeches," he said. "If the Pope continues to speak like this, sooner or later I will start praying again and I will return to the Catholic Church -- and I'm not saying this jokingly."

Appearing in Rome alongside Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi following his first-ever meeting with the pope, Castro said he would be among the throngs flocking to see the pope speak during his September visit to Cuba.

"I promise that I will go to all of his Masses -- and with satisfaction. I left the meeting this morning impressed, very impressed by his knowledge, his wisdom, modesty, and by all the virtues that we know he has," Castro said.

Castro's brother, Fidel Castro, a revolutionary who came to power in 1959, declared in 1961, "I am a Marxist-Leninist and shall be one until the end of my life," referring to the ideology espoused by Karl Marx, the German co-author of "The Communist Manifesto," and Vladimir Lenin, a socialist icon who led what is now Russia from 1917 to 1924.

Marx once wrote, "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people."

Religion's rocky road

In the early days of Fidel Castro's rule, Catholics and adherents to other religions found themselves heavily persecuted. Worshippers were targeted, sometimes violently. Church property was seized, priests and ministers were forced into exile or imprisoned, and parents who had once embraced their faith began raising their children in secular households so they would not face discrimination.

In 1992, the constitution was amended to prohibit discrimination against religion, but the U.S. State Department wrote in an annual report last year that the government still restricts religious activities.

Pope John Paul II visited the island in 1998. Pope Benedict XVI took an "apostolic journey" there in 2012. In January, officials announced the first Catholic church of the Castro brothers' rule would be built in Sandino, a town of 39,000 on the west end of the island.

"I am a communist of the Cuban Communist Party," Raul Castro said Sunday. "The party never allowed the believers. Now we are allowing that believers also be part. This is an important step."

Saying he is Jesuit "to a degree" because of the schools he attended as a youth, Castro said Cuba was also striving toward political and economic reform. But he warned that it was more difficult than imagined "because we don't want to take measures that will hurt our people. We don't want a policy of shock. We don't want anybody to end up in the street."

Papal influence

Pope Francis has been integral in at least one aspect of change in Cuba. In December, Raul Castro thanked the pope for his involvement in efforts to thaw diplomatic relations with the United States. The Vatican and Canadian government have been key facilitators in the talks, which began in June 2013.

The first pope from Latin America, Francis urged U.S. President Barack Obama -- in a 2014 letter and later during an in-person meeting -- to pursue a closer relationship with the United States' island neighbor and ease the aid and trade sanctions that have been in place since the 1960s.

"This expression by President Barack Obama deserves the respect and recognition by all the people, and I want to thank and recognize support from the Vatican and especially from Pope Francis for the improvement of relations between Cuba and the United States," Raul Castro said in December.

The Vatican dubbed the pope's 50-minute Sunday meeting with Castro "very friendly" and said the two exchanged gifts.

Castro gave the pope a commemorative medal from Havana's Cathedral of The Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception, along with a painting by a Cuban artist depicting a migrant praying to a cross made of wrecked barges, a statement on the plight of migrants and refugees throughout the world. The Holy See gave the Cuban president a medallion depicting St. Martin of Tours, the patron saint of beggars, cloaking the poor, along with a copy of "Evangelii gaudium," the pope's 2013 apostolic exhortation that has been hailed as the "Magna Carta of church reform."

Fidel Castro remembers Lenin

"The president told reporters before leaving the Vatican that he had thanked the Holy Father for the active role he played in favor of improving relations between Cuba and the United States of America, and also presented to the pope the sentiments of the Cuban people -- sentiments of expectation and preparation for the Holy Father's visit to the island in September," a Vatican statement said.

While Sunday's meeting may mark a boon for religious freedom advocates, change in Cuba has come slowly and the brothers Castro do not always appear to be on the same page.

On Saturday, Fidel Castro penned an op-ed commemorating Victory Day, a celebration of the 70th anniversary of Nazi Germany's surrender to the Soviet Union. In it, Castro, who ceded power to his brother in 2008, referred to Lenin as a "brilliant revolutionary strategist," lauded communism, decried capitalism and wrote that the recent cooperation between China and Russia has formed a "shield of world peace and security, so that the life of our species may be preserved."

"The 27 million Soviets who died in the Great Patriotic War also did so for humanity and the right to think and be socialists, to be Marxist-Leninists, communists, and leave the dark ages behind," Fidel Castro wrote on state-run Granma.
(05-30-2015 06:38 AM)Winnson Wrote: [ -> ]My parents love going there for vacation, so I guess this is good news.

They say the US travel ban to Cuba may soon be lifted.
not a surprise that these guys would support Francis. Francis supports liberation theology which is latin communism.

I don't see the church getting more popular under Francis. I see the media attacking him less, that's it.

I see no evidence that church attendance rates are growing in the west substantially
(05-30-2015 06:37 AM)johan Wrote: [ -> ]I'm fairly certain that Cuba still clandestinely supports Marxist revolutionary groups like FARC and socialist revolutionary groups like ETA

Castro is the Godfather of Foro de Sao Paulo which is a conglomerate of marxist parties that run Mercosur in South America. This shows that the Obama admin is still as out of touch as they were during that reset button bs with Russia.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foro_de_São_Paulo

[Image: Zl2OHBd.jpg]

Current Brazilian President (and former commie terrorist pictured above with Fidel)
[Image: bQIkaVg.jpg]
80% of Cuba's women openly engage in prostitution
there goes the cheap cuban vacations now.
(05-30-2015 02:41 PM)canuckster Wrote: [ -> ]there goes the cheap cuban vacations now.

The ban hasn't been lifted yet, there is still time for one last hurrah.
When the ban is lifted, I plan on being one of the first Americans to legally travel to Cuba.
(05-30-2015 06:37 AM)johan Wrote: [ -> ]I'm fairly certain that Cuba still clandestinely supports Marxist revolutionary groups like FARC and socialist revolutionary groups like ETA, so it is a somewhat curious move to take them off the state sponsored terror list. There's a lot of other things going on in Cuba that might make one feel trepidation when considering normalization of relations, such as their rigged electoral system and lack of a free press. I wonder if this move has anything to do with attempting to pull them out of Russia's sphere of influence.




Cuba is obviously using its leverage over America (due to America's hostile posturing towards Russia) to gain some economic benefits.

Normalization of relations with America also means normalization of relations with the rest of Cuba's Caribbean and Latin American neighbours (that is, less isolation from Cuba). It's win-win for Cuba, at least (short term) from an economic perspective. From a geo-political standpoint, it is playing with fire (I would suspect, especially under a Republican leadership), something Cuba's leaders will be well aware of and will take measures to address.
Cuba for many leftists is a symbol of defiance of 'third world' peoples against the Empire -- i.e., America.

It's consequently one of these states that I imagine even the most blood-lusting American administration would never dare to attack. Doing so would probably cause more discord in America's streets than what we've witnessed with the worst rioting over police brutality.

I imagine, the main concern behind the Barry regime's u-turn on Cuba was the possibility of Russian nuclear weapons returning to Cuban soil.

Of course, there's still Venezuela to 'contend with', and I'm reading of increasing military cooperation with Russia and Nicaragua.

The other piece to consider in this is that much of Latin America, because of past U.S. policies, views the U.S. with suspicion. I don't think any friendly overtures from America towards the region is likely to change this perception, at least in the immediate future. If anything, it will bring the region closer to Cuba.
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