Guest Post by Patrick Doherty: Catholic Bishops Call for an End to the Embargo


Pope Benedict XVI and President Obama meet at the Vatican (White House Photo)
Patrick Doherty directs the New America Foundation/U.S.-Cuba 21st Century Policy Initiative. This post originally appeared at The Havana Note.
In a well-publicized visit to the island of Cuba, a delegation from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops this week called on Havana and Washington to “listen to our better angels” and work to end the embargo that has caused decades of unnecessary suffering on the people of both nations.
That’s good advice. One can presume that this was the same message spoken directly to President Obama by Pope Benedict XVI in their discussions of Cuba, conversations revealed by Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough to the Miami Herald last month.
Such a conversation would be consistent. Though relations between the originally-atheist Castro government and the Vatican were rocky, the Vatican never withdrew its diplomatic recognition of or representation in Cuba. But the end of the Cold War presented Havana with an opportunity to improve relations, leading to a visit by Fidel Castro to the Apostolic Palace in 1996 and the Pope’s visit to Cuba in 1998.
In his farewell address in Cuba, Pope John Paul II said the following:

May nations, and especially those which share the same Christian heritage and the same language, work effectively to extend the benefits of unity and harmony, to join efforts and overcome obstacles so that the Cuban people, as the active agents of their own history, may maintain international relations which promote the common good. In this way they will be helped to overcome the suffering caused by material and moral poverty, the roots of which may be found, among other things, in unjust inequalities, in limitations to fundamental freedoms, in depersonalization and the discouragement of individuals, and in oppressive economic measures – unjust and ethically unacceptable – imposed from outside the country.

— Patrick Doherty


14 comments on “Guest Post by Patrick Doherty: Catholic Bishops Call for an End to the Embargo

  1. royce says:

    Catholic priests musta run out of places to party.
    When I think “despicable”, our body politic springs immediately to mind. Unless I’m in Los Angeles, where Mahoney earns top honors, hands down.


  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Mahoney pales in comparison to the former Archbishop of Phoenix……”
    Its amazing how power begets scumbaggery, isn’t it? I wonder, if we considered the amount of high “representatives” in our body politic, and then took a count of how many have been involved in scandal, actual criminal activitites, or been caught red-handed in various immoral or unethical activities, can we have any doubts that the percentage of proven scumballs, criminals, and perverts in our body politic far surpasses the percentage to be found in the general population?
    It seems the same can be said for the Catholic Church’s hierarchy.


  3. Outraged American says:

    Mahoney pales in comparison to the former Archbishop of
    Phoenix, O’Brien, who ran over and killed some guy while
    plastered and fled the scene.
    I don’t know if the Archbishops still live there, but I walk our
    dogs by O’Brien’s former house, just like I walk by McCain’s
    former house, everyday.
    Maybe I’ll tee pee them both. Or throw a shoe at them. But
    then I’d be barefoot and the pavement is hot enough to fry an
    egg on.
    Is it a federal crime to throw an egg at the former house of a
    former presidential candidate?
    Probably is… the federal government wants to make us all
    criminals. TSA can suck my…well, I don’t have one. Damn.
    Now I’m going to hell for typing “Damn” Jahsus, I just did it
    twice. The fires await.
    BTW: the other TWN poster stuck in hell and I are going to this
    Mexican dive where there are gunfights by real cowboys in the
    parking lot. Will send pics!


  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    IDF rabbinate publication during Gaza war: We will show no mercy on the cruel
    Amos Harel
    During the fighting in the Gaza Strip, the religious media – and on two occasions, the Israel Defense Forces weekly journal Bamahane – were full of praise for the army rabbinate. The substantial role of religious officers and soldiers in the front-line units of the IDF was, for the first time, supported also by the significant presence of rabbis there.
    The chief army rabbi, Brigadier General Avichai Rontzki, joined the troops in the field on a number of occasions, as did rabbis under his command.
    Officers and soldiers reported that they felt “spiritually elevated” and “morally empowered” by conversations with rabbis who gave them encouragement before the confrontation with the Palestinians.
    But what exactly was the content of these conversations and of the plethora of written material disseminated by the IDF rabbinate during the war? A reservist battalion rabbi told the religious newspaper B’Sheva last week that Rontzki explained to his staff that their role was not “to distribute wine and challah for Shabbat to the troops,” but “to fill them with yiddishkeit and a fighting spirit.”
    An overview of some of the army rabbinate’s publications made available during the fighting reflects the tone of nationalist propaganda that steps blatantly into politics, sounds racist and can be interpreted as a call to challenge international law when it comes to dealing with enemy civilians.
    Haaretz has received some of the publications through Breaking the Silence, a group of former soldiers who collect evidence of unacceptable behavior in the army vis-a-vis Palestinians. Other material was provided by officers and men who received it during Operation Cast Lead. Following are quotations from this material:
    “[There is] a biblical ban on surrendering a single millimeter of it [the Land of Israel] to gentiles, though all sorts of impure distortions and foolishness of autonomy, enclaves and other national weaknesses. We will not abandon it to the hands of another nation, not a finger, not a nail of it.” This is an excerpt from a publication entitled “Daily Torah studies for the soldier and the commander in Operation Cast Lead,” issued by the IDF rabbinate. The text is from “Books of Rabbi Shlomo Aviner,” who heads the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva in the Muslim quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem.
    The following questions are posed in one publication: “Is it possible to compare today’s Palestinians to the Philistines of the past? And if so, is it possible to apply lessons today from the military tactics of Samson and David?” Rabbi Aviner is again quoted as saying: “A comparison is possible because the Philistines of the past were not natives and had invaded from a foreign land … They invaded the Land of Israel, a land that did not belong to them and claimed political ownership over our country … Today the problem is the same. The Palestinians claim they deserve a state here, when in reality there was never a Palestinian or Arab state within the borders of our country. Moreover, most of them are new and came here close to the time of the War of Independence.”
    The IDF rabbinate, also quoting Rabbi Aviner, describes the appropriate code of conduct in the field: “When you show mercy to a cruel enemy, you are being cruel to pure and honest soldiers. This is terribly immoral. These are not games at the amusement park where sportsmanship teaches one to make concessions. This is a war on murderers. ‘A la guerre comme a la guerre.'”
    This view is also echoed in publications signed by Rabbis Chen Halamish and Yuval Freund on Jewish consciousness. Freund argues that “our enemies took advantage of the broad and merciful Israeli heart” and warns that “we will show no mercy on the cruel.”
    In addition to the official publications, extreme right-wing groups managed to bring pamphlets with racist messages into IDF bases. One such flyer is attributed to “the pupils of Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg” – the former rabbi at Joseph’s Tomb and author of the article “Baruch the Man,” which praises Baruch Goldstein, who massacred unarmed Palestinians in Hebron. It calls on “soldiers of Israel to spare your lives and the lives of your friends and not to show concern for a population that surrounds us and harms us. We call on you … to function according to the law ‘kill the one who comes to kill you.’ As for the population, it is not innocent … We call on you to ignore any strange doctrines and orders that confuse the logical way of fighting the enemy.”


  5. Outraged American says:

    As someone who was raised in a nunnery, I’m just glad the Vatican
    doesn’t have the bomb.


  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Vatican teaching Hezbollah how to kill Jews, says pamphlet for IDF troops
    By Ofri Ilani
    The Pope and the cardinals of the Vatican help organize tours of Auschwitz for Hezbollah members to teach them how to wipe out Jews, according to a booklet being distributed to Israel Defense Forces soldiers.
    Officials encouraging the booklet’s distribution include senior officers, such as Lt. Col. Tamir Shalom, the commander of the Nahshon Battalion of the Kfir Brigade.
    The booklet was published by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, in cooperation with the chief rabbi of Safed, Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu, and has been distributed for the past few months.
    The booklet, titled “On Either Side of the Border,” purports to be the testimony of “a Hezbollah officer who spied for Israel.”
    “The book is distributed regularly and everyone reads it and believes it,” said one soldier. “It’s filled with made-up details but is presented as a true story. A whole company of soldiers, adults, told me: ‘Read this and you’ll understand who the Arabs are.'”
    The copy obtained by Haaretz included a Pesach greeting from Shalom, “in the name of the Nahshon Brigade.”
    The story is narrated by a man named Avi, who says he changed his name from Ibrahim after he left Hezbollah and converted to Judaism. Avi says he was once close to Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, and describes Hezbollah’s purported close relationships with the Vatican and European leaders.
    Amazing, isn’t it? You read shit like this, and it makes you realize the kind of garbage that incites the IDF to shit in the appliances of Arab homes they have commandeered, or shoot Palestinian children in the streets when they are non-threatening and non-combatant.
    Israel, at this point, is condemning itself to the same chapters in history that Adolph Hitler consigned himself. Sadly, as co-conspirators and sponsors, we too will suffer the disdain and abhorence of tomorrow’s readers of history. It is quite offensive to me that Obama and Clinton natter on tepidly about the settlement issue, while ignoring actions, policies, and ideologies committed to by Israel that are an affront to humanity and all human decency and morality. The actions and policies of Israel can now ONLY be described as founded in racism and hatred, and one must consign our own complicity to the same cesspool of justifications and rationales. “Defense” is no longer a plausible or credible rationale. Is there anything “defensive” about the pure umittigated shit the above mentioned pamphlet is comprised of? It is nothing more than packaged hatred, pure propaganda designed to instill racist anger and religious zealotry.
    Why are we sending these racist fanatical monsters our money and our blessings?


  7. JohnH says:

    Since Patrick Doherty seems to be the go-to guy for all things Cuban, maybe he could do a post on the Cuban Five:
    Patrick could also do a post on Luis Posada Carriles, the Cuban-American terrorist who blew up a Venezuelan passenger jet, killing 73 innocent people, including the Cuban national junior fencing team. Currently the US government is shielding him from trial in Venezuela by illegally refusing to extradite him.
    Oh well, scratch that idea. Such posts would obviously be frowned upon by the propaganda desk.


  8. רפידות גובה says:

    ‘d recommend putting them on another planet, but I doubt they are going to give us enough time to develop the technology to ship them there. It wasn’t all that terrible when all these maniacs had to butcher each other was swords, catapults, and machetes. But this is the nuclear age.


  9. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    End the embargo…decriminalize Havanna Cigars…even Rush LameBone could go for that one.
    Having the Pope weigh in on the subject will lend some weight to tilting our diplomatic position.


  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Which brings a thought to mind. We usually concentrate here on radical Jewish and Islamic wackjobbery. But truth be known, those two groups aren’t the only practitioners of dark age religinuttery.
    Its truly a shame we can’t find some spit of a continent somewhere, name it Nutlandia, and dump the religious radicals there in one giant heap of seething zealotry, and let them duke it out.
    I’d recommend putting them on another planet, but I doubt they are going to give us enough time to develop the technology to ship them there. It wasn’t all that terrible when all these maniacs had to butcher each other was swords, catapults, and machetes. But this is the nuclear age. Sooner or later, probably sooner, one of these maniacal factions is gonna nuke someone in the name of God, and then all bets are off. My bet? Israel.


  11. samuelburke says:

    id like to see the catholics call for an end to apartheid in israel….then the zionist can accuse the pope and his minions of anti semitism all the while israel commits crimes against humanity.
    israel and all of its supporters from the christian zionist war mongers to the zionist hyphenated jews around the world are blinded by the hatred towards the dark race arab nations.


  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Catholic priests musta run out of places to party.
    When I think “despicable”, our body politic springs immediately to mind. Unless I’m in Los Angeles, where Mahoney earns top honors, hands down.


  13. JohnH says:

    Papal nonsense: “end the embargo that has caused decades of unnecessary suffering on the people of both nations.” Maybe God’s representative here on earth could deign to do us the favor of explaining exactly how have the people of the US suffered from the embargo!!!
    And how exactly should Cuba work to end the embargo? The US imposed it. The US can end it. Why should Cuba be involved in ending what was a unilateral decision?


Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *