What is Cardinal Ortega Afraid Of?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Through the Archdiocese of Havana's publication, Espacio Laical, Cardinal Jaime Ortega has criticized democracy activists who support maintaining sanctions towards the Castro regime.

This isn't particularly news, as Cardinal Ortega is not fond of any activist that opposes the Castro dictatorship, regardless of their views on sanctions.

Cardinal Ortega has a tragic history of snubbing (insulting) dissidents, turning a blind-eye towards their repression (even authorizing it in one known occasion) and stretching the truth (to put it kindly).

However, this time Cardinal Ortega reveals what he is afraid of.

The statement reads:

"Cuba has much to change, but everything indicates that the generality of Cubans do not desire the type of change that has taken place in the many countries of Eastern Europe.  The immense majority of Cubans don't aspire to see the country follow the same path as that part of the world, nor that our changes take place through the same methods that took place there."

Cardinal Ortega is afraid that Cuba will become like Eastern Europe -- free and prosperous.

He doesn't want to see Cubans free themselves from totalitarianism in the same way as Eastern Europeans did.  

Surely it is to Ortega's chagrin that the most successful transitions in Eastern Europe have taken place in the countries where the current dictators and Communist Party elites took no role in the process, namely Estonia and the Czech Republic.

He seems to prefer for Cuba to "evolve" into an authoritarian KGB-style fiefdom, akin to Russia, at the hands of its current ruling elite.

Or for Cuba to just remain a repressive totalitarian state.

(See this short comparative study, "Cuba is Ready," by post-Soviet scholar Fredo Arias-King, on the key ingredients for a successful democratic transition in Cuba.)

Moreover, Cardinal Ortega has the audacity to say that the "immense majority" of Cubans don't want to see their nation free itself from totalitarianism in the same way as Eastern Europe did.

Really, Cardinal, how about asking them in a free election?