Vatican post for Che mate fails to impress Cuban archbishop

The Archbishop of Havana has expressed his disapproval of the appointment of Cuba's new Ambassador to the Holy See, who is the son of one of the intellectuals closest to Castro during the revolution and a close friend of Ernesto Che Guevara.

CLICK HEREItalian Vatican affairs commentator Sandro Magister includes the views of both the ambassador - 69 year old Raul Roa Kouri - and Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, in his latest web column.

Magister says that, in an interview with the Rome news agency ASCA, Roa Kourí paints a portrait of the Catholic Church in Cuba in which the bishops are always the "bad guys", except in a few cases, while the good guys are the priests and the people, again with a few exceptions.

"Being a bad guy means siding with the United States and the expatriates in Miami. And being a good guy means siding with Castro's revolution. What about the Vatican? They're with the good guys, according to Roa Kourí. Therefore, they are against the bishops."

For his part, Cardinal Ortega y Alamino says the ambassador's declarations "appear to have been inopportune, if not imprudent".

"Would to God that these opinions, which create such an unfavourable climate in relations between Church and state in Cuba, were the result of errors or personal prejudice, and not the groundwork for or announcement of an official position on relations with the Catholic Church in our country," he aid. "This does not seem possible to me, because Mr Roa's assertions are in conflict with other statements from higher Cuban officials that tend to create a much different climate."

Sandro Magister: Che Guevara Has Reappeared - At the Vatican (L'Espresso 14/9/05)

15 Sep 2005