Cuba promises Vatican to seek solution to expectations of “both parties”

Havana, Feb 9 (EFE).- Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel assured papal envoy Cardinal Beniamino Stella that he would seek routes toward achieving “the solution of the expectations of both parties,” the official Cuban daily Granma reported Thursday.

Diaz-Canel transmitted this message to Stella at a meeting the two men held at the close of the cardinal’s visit to Cuba to mark the 25th anniversary of the late Pope John Paul II’s historic pastoral visit to the communist island, the first pontiff to visit Cuba.

The Cuban leader spoke about “continuing to build, with mutual benefit,” routes toward meeting the expectations of “both parties,” Granma, the official organ of the Cuban Communist Party, said.

Granma did not specifically explain to what the Cuban president was referring with those words. Stella had said a few hours before in remarks to the media in Havana that Pope Francis “greatly” desired that protesters imprisoned for anti-government demonstrations on July 11, 2021, be released.

The cardinal said earlier that “the pope greatly desires there to be a positive response” from the Cuban government to the requests of the Catholic Church that convicted demonstrators be released, adding that it was only a secondary consideration whether that release be legally defined as an amnesty or clemency.

“But it’s important that the young people who at a certain time expressed their thinking in the way with which we’re familiar can return home,” Stella emphasized.

The papal envoy said that during his visit to Cuba he had been able to express to Cuban authorities this “longing” of the Church, adding his desire that starting from this “useful and positive moment” resulting from his trip that “new things may be born for the Cuban people.”

A little earlier on Wednesday, in a speech at the University of Havana attended by Diaz-Canel, the papal envoy emphasized that “one cannot subordinate freedom to any calculation of interests (or) situations, hoping for better times.”

Granma reported that Diaz-Canel also thanked Stella for Pope Francis’s efforts to foster “a dialogue by the government of the United States with Cuba and that we can resolve in a civilized way the differences we have.”

“We want to express to him the great willingness that exists to continue advancing in the relations of the Cuban state with the Holy See and also with the Catholic Church in Cuba,” said the Cuban leader, according to the daily.

Stella had said that Cuba “must be free of all interference,” but it must also ensure that “its children may be free men and women,” going on to say that freedom has to allow material and spiritual growth.

He said that the Vatican desires “those who are in power to be mutually able to speak, to be able to listen” because “from this things that benefit the Cuban people can come forth.”

“I hope that (this dialogue) comes about and comes about quickly, and that it constitutes an important step for many advances that the Cuban people really need. There are things that must be done and done quickly,” he added.

Stella arrived in Cuba on Jan. 23 on a trip to mark the 25th anniversary of the pastoral visit to Cuba made by John Paul II, the first pontiff to visit the island. Later, his two successors – Benedict XVI and Francis I – also visited the communist nation.

The cardinal is scheduled to remain in Cuba until Feb. 10.

EFE –/bp

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