Havana Cardinal Addresses Cubans on TV

Cuban President Raul Castro with Cardinal Jaime Ortega. Photo/archive

HAVANA TIMES, March 14 — Cardinal Jaime Ortega spoke Tuesday on national television to encourage Cubans to give the warmest welcome to Pope Benedict XVI when he visits the island in less than two weeks.

“We can become an absolutist or a truly tyrannical and totalitarian regime when someone believes they hold the truth,” stated Ortega in what constituted the only markedly political reference in his 20-minute address on primetime TV.

The archbishop criticized the fact that individuals have to submit themselves to a single truth that is imposed as the only way of feeling and thinking.

The head of state of the Vatican City will arrive on the island on March 26 and will stay here until March 28.  He will officiate a public Mass in both the city of Santiago de Cuba and Havana.

“Benedicto XVI is the Pope of the truth”, noted Ortega, making use of the airtime that almost no Cuban or foreigner is provided to address a nation accustomed only to speeches by its top leaders or their closest allies.