The Direct Beneficiaries of the Pope’s Visit to Cuba

Alfredo Fernandez

HAVANA TIMES, April 8 — A European friend of mine asked me who I thought were the direct beneficiaries of the recent papal visit to Cuba.

She wanted to know if any of the masses of people living through such rough times here received some concrete advantages — however small — from the social and media spectacle that always takes place with each visit by this figure.

After scratching my head to come up with such a list — however short — I could only think of a few who would benefit.

I included those who hadn’t had the fronts of their houses painted in many years. The brief passage of the Holy Father through the streets of Santiago de Cuba and Havana had almost required the government to give a dab of paint to those homes along the route.

In the list I included the drivers of old, beat-up jalopies. They would benefit from a few of the pot holes having been filled in both cities along those thoroughfares used by the Pope Mobile, a converted Mercedes-Benz.

The main benefit for all Cubans was the government making Good Friday an official holiday, meaning that they didn’t have to work on that day.

However, if the income of any ordinary Cubans did receive direct contributions from the visit by the “beloved Pope” to Cuba, it was the aluminum can collectors.

At the end of the Mass in Havana, they were the ones who most appreciated this man’s journey to the island. They were able to fill bags and bags of empty soda cans, which they didn’t hesitate to sell or exchange for a few pesos or articles and thus prolong their eternal subsistence.

That was what happened. The Pope came to Cuba, the people hardly benefited, but the church and the government came reeled in the dividends. Firstly, this helped ensure their future in Cuba over the long run; and secondly, it added to an international image of good relations between them in their desperate present.

 

 

 


Alfredo Fernandez

Alfredo Fernandez: I didn't really leave Cuba, it's impossible to leave somewhere that you've never been. After gravitating for 37 years on that strange island, I managed to touch firm ground, but only to confirm that I hadn't reached anywhere. Perhaps I will never belong anywhere. Now I'm living in Ecuador, but please, don't believe me when I say where I am, better to find me in "the Cuba of my dreams.

One thought on “The Direct Beneficiaries of the Pope’s Visit to Cuba

  • Having the Pope visit Cuba and appear to be on good terms with the leadership, will have a good propaganda effect on the attitudes of the people of, and to some small degree on the government of, the United Snakes.

    The lifting of the 50-year embargo is very important and the visit by the Pope, the declaration that Good Friday will henceforth be a Cuban national holiday will make some small inroads into the counter revolutionary attitudes in the heart of the beast.

    This will be at minimal cost to Cuba and with no sacrifice of revolutionary principles.

    At worst , the visit will be of no practical use. At best it will serve to ease the anti-Cuban sentiments of the U.S public which is (ostensibly and hypocritically ) claimed to be very religious.

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