Cuba Gov. and non-Catholic Religious Leaders Meet

HAVANA TIMES, Feb 23 — Cuban Vice President Esteban Lazo and leaders of various religious institutions and fraternal associations met on Wednesday to discuss current issues on the island.

The meeting was attended by nearly 70 leaders – among them Protestants, Evangelicals, Orthodox Russians and Greeks, Buddhists, Muslims, representatives of African religions, spiritualist centers and the Jewish community.

The dialogue, which also included other officials from the Cuban Communist Party, took place in a “friendly atmosphere” and addressed issues such as the “unity of Cubans, the defense of values ??and the role of the family,” noted Prensa Latina.

VP Lazo emphasized, “It’s good to make it known that we are united.”

Meanwhile, Communist Party Central Committee Religious Affairs chief Caridad Diego added that Cuba’s authorities are interested in “the rescuing of values” on the island.

Catholic Church leaders were not included in the gathering.  In recent years they have obtained a higher level status of bilateral relations with the government, noted dpa.  Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to visit the island on March 26-28.