Cuba’s Top Catholic Wants US-Cuba Calm

HAVANA TIMES, April 20 — Cuba’s Archbishop Jaime Ortega called to drop the tension level inside Cuba and in its relations with the United States in statements in the Catholic Church publication Palabra Nueva (New Word).

The cleric, 73, said putting off needed changes in Cuba produces “impatience and unease” among the population.  The island is in its worse economic crunch since the “Special Period” crisis that began in the early 1990s.

Ortega also called on the United States and Cuba to restart what were hopes gone bad for a dialogue to normalize relations.

As the Obama administration has stepped up its criticism of the Cuban government in recent weeks over human rights issues, Ortega noted: “Once again, the old (American) policy prevails: to begin at the end,”  “I am convinced that the first thing should be to meet, talk and advance a dialogue. … That is the civilized way to confront any conflict.”