Sunday, March 25, 2012


I can’t believe it—more than a week without posting! Shows what switching desktop computers from Windows to an iMac will do. Also, it did not help that I had a four plus day jury trial to conduct.  The judge in that case made an interesting observation—95 percent of all jury trials worldwide are held in the United States. There is something very ennobling to watch twelve citizen jurors decide how a case should come out. It’s not a perfect system, but it does ensure that the people have a say in how the judicial branch is run. Sadly, Cuba and its neighbor Venezuela don’t come close to this guaranty of the preservation of the rights of the people.

In the intervening time since I last wrote, Chavez has left Cuba, but last night announced he is going back for further medical care. The Pope is finishing his visit to Mexico and is about to visit Cuba. The presence of the Pope and the impatient patient in Havana at the same time presents a conundrum for the Pope. Does he meet with Chávez in an effort to further protect the Church in socialist Venezuela and thereby give credibility to Chávez in the October 7 elections? Before being stricken with cancer, Chávez had no need for religion and held the Catholic hierarchy in Venezuela in contempt. Now faced with his own mortality, he suddenly has found a place for “socialist Catholicism.” It is impossible to conceive that the Pope would meet with Chávez without also devoting significant time to visit with the Cuban dissidents. Six hours ago Venezuelan journalist @nelsonbocaranda reported that the Pope accepted the impatient patient’s petition for a private audience. Where does that leave the Cuban dissidents?

The famous Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez @yoanisanchez, reported on Twitter two days ago that the Pope’s visit has caused a situation that has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous: two decades of radical atheism and now labor centers are telling workers that they have to attend the Pope’s masses. This is being done to prevent dissidents from coming close enough to get the Pope’s attention. Ten hours ago, Yoani told her Twitter followers that she had never been baptized. “I was born in 1975 in the climax of the radical sovietization and atheism. My parents were afraid to “believe.”

The dissidents I wrote of, a week ago Thursday, were removed by the security police at the request of the Cardinal, who appears to be altogether too close to the government and not willing to give offense. It will be interesting to see how the Pope treats the dissidents. The New York Times called for the Pope to lobby Raúl to gain the release of Alan Gross. Gross has lost a hundred pounds and is suffering from both diabetes and arthritis. His mother has cancer. The Cuban who had served time for spying and is on probation in the U.S. has a mother who has cancer, too. Given the proximity of Passover and Easter, there is an opportunity for the Pope to broker a deal. I hope he does not let this chance slip by. 

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