Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 20 April |
home iconNews
line break icon

Pope Francis Lauded on Role in New Cuba Policy

Aleteia

Mark Stricherz - published on 12/18/14

Obama, Castro announce release of prisoners, indicate normalizing relations.

WASHINGTON – President Obama said Pope Francis helped the United States and Cuba re-establish long-severed diplomatic ties by urging the leaders of the two countries to exchange political prisoners and one American hostage. 

“I want to thank Pope Francis, whose moral example shows the world as it should be rather than settling for how it is,” Obama said at the end of his nationally televised speech 
Wednesday.

The president’s words represented a rare example in which an American leader went out of his way to praise a Roman Pontiff for helping broker an international agreement. 

The Vatican Secretary of State, Pietro Paolin, released a statement that said representatives from the United States and Cuba met at the Vatican to discuss resuming diplomatic ties last October. 

“The Holy Father wishes to express his warm congratulations for the historic decision taken by the Governments of the United States of America and Cuba to establish diplomatic relations, with the aim of overcoming, in the interest of the citizens of both countries, the difficulties which have marked their recent history,” the statement said.

Obama’s announcement means that the United States has committed to re-establishing an embassy in Cuba and having an American ambassador to the island nation. 
The United States cut diplomatic ties in 1961, two years after Fidel Castro, the retired military commander of Cuba, took control of the government in a military coup. 
“These 50 years have shown that isolation does not work. 
It’s time for a new approach,” Obama said in the address, which all four major television networks covered live.


But getting funding to build an embassy in Cuba and an ambassadorial nominee through the Senate may prove difficult. 

Key senators from both parties criticized the announcement. 
Democrat Robert Menendez of NewJersey, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Obama’s announcement “vindicates the brutal behavior of the Cuban government. Republican Marco Rubio of Florida, who will chair a key Foreign Relations subcommittee, said “The White House gave everything to gain very little.”

On Wednesday morning, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville met with President Obama and Vice President Biden in the Oval Office, according to Don Clemmer, a spokesman for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Archbishop 
Kurtz is president of the USCCB. Clemmer said Archbishop Kurtz requested the meeting to “discussion the priority issues of the bishops,” but provided no other details about the meeting.


A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Louisville was unavailable for comment.

Tags:
CubaPoliticsPope Francis
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Top 10
1
SPANISH FLU
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
2
EUCHARIST
Philip Kosloski
5 Fascinating facts about Jesus in the Eucharist
3
MASS
Philip Kosloski
5 Essential things used at Mass and their symbolism
4
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
5
COUPLE
Cerith Gardiner
7 Joys to be had from a lengthy marriage
6
OSORNO
Brett Salkeld
How to vaccinate like a Catholic
7
PRINCE PHILIP
Cerith Gardiner
The lasting lesson from the late Prince Philip
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.