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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

President Bush meets with Pope and talks about Cuba

Posted June 10, 2007 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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MALCOLM MOORE in Rome | Telegraph

US President George W Bush appealed yesterday for Pope Benedict’s help in turning Cuba away from communism once Fidel Castro is dead. The US wants the Pope to act as an “honest broker”, helping to defrost decades of enmity.

President Bush arrived for his first audience with the pontiff yesterday morning. Mr Bush caused raised eyebrows when he addressed the Pope as “sir” instead of the expected “your holiness”.

The two men sat at a small desk in the Pope’s private library to discuss Cuba, as well as the war in Iraq and the plight of Christians in the Middle East. On his way into the library, the Pope was heard asking Mr Bush whether his meeting last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin had gone well. “Umm. I’ll tell you in a minute,” he said, eyeing reporters.

Mr Bush’s appeal over Cuba came after a leaked memorandum put together by the US State Department warned that the death of Castro could lead to huge instability on the island, as hundreds of thousands of Cuban exiles make the 90-mile journey home from Florida. The Church would be the only point to which all Cubans could look for guidance.

On Friday, Castro accused Bush of “trying to deceive the Pope by pretending that the war in Iraq does not exist and is not about oil”.

The Vatican declined to comment specifically on Cuba, but said the two men had discussed “the large ethical and social questions concerning people worldwide”.

The Pope used the meeting to discuss what the Vatican described as “the worrying situation in Iraq”, telling Mr Bush he would like a “regional and negotiated” solution to conflicts in the Middle East.The President’s itinerary in Rome was revised because of fears for his safety as thousands of anti-war protesters filled the city. He had planned to walk around Trastevere. However, the American embassy persuaded Mr Bush to abandon the trip, pointing out that the presidential cavalcade of more than 40 limousines would not fit in the area’s tiny cobbled streets. The embassy warned American tourists to remain in their hotels yesterday to avoid becoming targets of anti-Bush sentiment.

Member Comments

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On June 10, 2007, publisher wrote:

I am not a Bush hater but I certainly don’t like the man too much. He just seems to be wrong or inept more times than not.

First, does he or the State department really think that “The Church would be the only point to which all Cubans could look for guidance”? Last time I checked, there are too many Catholics in Cuba and I don’t think the Cuban church is not in any position to have an influence in Cuba.

Calling the Pope “Sir”? I find that hard to believe since Bush is a man of faith (way too much faith if you ask me) so I don’t see how he could get this wrong.

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On June 10, 2007, Cuban American wrote:

I think we all agree that Bush has a knack for saying and doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.  Like you publisher I don’t hate the man, however I think his administration could have done a quite a bit better in certain areas.  That doesn’t mean we have to constantly bash the man, after all we can’t blame anyone but ourselves, we put him in office.  As for the whole Pope “sir” thing, just because he is a man of faith doesn’t mean he is a catholic.  Christians and catholics have different dogmas that being said I think a lot of people who aren’t necessarily familiar with the catholic dogma might make the same mistake.