Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pope and Chavez in Cuba

What to make of the rather hurried departure of Chavez for Havana this week end?  He did not even bother this time around to go through all the formalism.  He announced it on cadena and off he went.

What gives?

We do not need to resort much to conspiracy theories or official twitters of leaks to get our own picture.

Certainly he wants to try to meet the Pope.  Why?  I doubt that such a meeting would take place, because  even Benedict would not be able to explain why he refused to see Yoanni but said yes to Hugo.  It would be easier to explain once again the immaculate conception and actually convince people.....  So we must accept that Chavez is merely seeking a health miracle and willing not only to assume the political cost at home (you cannot curse the Catholic Church for over a decade and end up making a quick Canossa scene in Havana) but the added cost of a public reprimand by the Pope.

Unless Castro meets officially the Pope and sneaks in Chavez I do not see this happening.  Then again.....

The interest is elsewhere.  The hurried departure of Chavez for a treatment that he could get very well in Venezuela and in all discretion (he could even get his own radiotherapy equipment in the basement of Miraflores far from any prying eye, surrounded by a tiny team of Cuban silent specialists) can only mean that he is doing much worse than he cares to admit.  We could be watching the final weeks even.  Or at least the weeks where he will be forced to give up power if he wants to have a chance at survival.

It also betrays the mood of the man.  At this point his actions are erratic enough, and the political cost he is willing to assume (by meeting the Pope? by not resolving the heir issue?)  indicate that the guy is at wit's end.

PS: as for the Pope in Cuba, what can be said?  The more charitable explanation I have is that the Castro brothers have decided that the Catholic church recipes tested in Eastern Europe transition may well apply to Cuba too.  In other words that visit would be part of the negotiation for the post Castro era.  Poleo and other say that.  But I am not sure it applies because Cuba is a castrist dictatorship, not really an exclusive political apparatus one like Eastern Europe was.  The Castros are thugs trying to find a way out of a corner, not apparatchiks betting on a long term survival strategy.


  1. Island Canuck8:11 PM

    Tic Toc, Tic Toc.

    The end is near.
    Desperation has set in.
    The stupid comments lately from Diosdado & company show this.
    "Capriles is like Mr. Bean"

    What level of intelligence are we working with.
    It's like a group of 10 year olds.

    Please. please just get us out of this mess.

  2. Anonymous10:20 PM

    On the contrary, Chavez not meeting with the Pope would lower his standing even below what it is now.
    People will wonder why the Pope refused to see him.

    Of course, Chavez will say that he refused to meet the Pope because the Pope insulted Cuba.

  3. Dr. Faustus11:36 PM

    Oh my. I am in complete awe of your Nostradamus-like predictions. Impressive.

    You wrote:

    "Certainly he wants to try to meet the Pope. Why? I doubt that such a meeting would take place, because even Benedict would not be able to explain why he refused to see Yoanni but said yes to Hugo."

    Within the last hour it was announced that Chavez will 'not' be meeting with the Pope. That, was impressive! That was an unbelievable call. Stunning.

  4. Marypuchy12:52 AM

    An exorcism ritual would be more in order than a blessing from the Pope!

    1. I think the exorcism has been already tried. The Santeria part at least :)

    2. Anonymous8:57 AM

      The ritual, invoking Babalú-Ayé,is led by a spiritist who makes use of a ceremonial broom,a covered terra-cotta vessel, and abundant cowry shells. Babalú,the son of Yemayá and the brother of Shango, is thought to have particular powers of healing things such as leprosy, influenza, and AIDS. I am sure he can also handle whatever it is that aches Chavez. However, he is also referred to as the “wrath of the supreme spirit” because he punishes people for their transgressions. Chavez should be very careful! The cure could be worse than the illness.

      It shouldn't be difficult to install a spiritist (a santeria priest) in the bowels of Miraflores (paid through Barrio Adentro) to conduct the rituals at the required intervals.

      If I was Chavez, I think I would try talking to the pope first.


  5. Anonymous4:01 AM

    I think it is more like a quote from a different movie: 'I see dead people.'

  6. Anonymous4:09 AM

    Maybe the Pope did not meet with Fidel Castro either? And, certainly not Hugo Chavez!
    I was reading where the Pope mentioned the need for major reforms to Raul Castro and at the same time the Vice-President of Cuba was saying something like ,,"they were perfecting a cuban form of socialism" blah-blah- unique in the world..Re. Babalu article:
    Message of the Cuban Regime to the Resistance: “As soon as the #PapaCuba leaves, we are going to disappear all of you”

    1. Someone in twitter wrote something like "Funny how somebody from an institution that has not changed in 1000 years, is asking Cuba for changes." Something like that.
      It made me laugh.

  7. Our Father, which art in Havana,
    Castro be thy name.
    Thy revolution come.
    Thy havoc be done in Venezuela,
    As it is in Cuba

    1. Anonymous5:12 AM

      LOL but so true.

  8. Surprise! Bloomberg says Chavez did meet with the Pope...


    How awkward was that?

  9. Dr. Faustus6:38 PM

    This is very confusing. The Vatican spokesperson 'denied' that the meeting took place. What's this world coming to when the Papacy engages in hiding (or lying about) the truth? Wow.

    1. You are surprised that the Vatican engaged in diplomacy? Wake up Dr.F!

      While I certainly do not ascribe evil intentions to the Vatican nor do I believe in all the conspiracy theories that abound about it, it is certainly correct to think that the Vatican plays politics and diplomacy as much as any other government.

  10. Im fraid(not) that even if Chavez were to step down(wich he wont) the same fate awaits him. He is the great leader, he created the revolution, it has lasted 13 years,and you think he will just step down? Remember his ego,or should i say ¡EGO!.

    The Popeprobably doesnt care if he meets with Fidel,Hugo or Raul. He knows what they are, he knows what they have done and any words that come out of his mouth would be hypocritical.

  11. Anonymous9:27 PM

    Juan-I disagree-the Pope SHOULD care and should realize that he is being used for propaganda by
    Chavez and Castro.
    I believe as I stated before that Chavez made a large contribution (in gold) on behalf of himself and Fidel Castro and bought a blessing.
    THis is an ancient custom.
    And as I said before I hoped it would not happen because I hoped the Catholic Church had
    "outgrown" learned better-obviously they have not...

  12. Anonymous9:33 PM

    Just to clarify-Chavez paid for himself and for
    Fidel Castro -a gift from Chavez to Fidel.(with Venezuela's gold).[ And, I joked- what about Raul.Sorry, not blessing for
    Raul-jajaja.]I doubt if we will ever know for
    sure, but, I believe this is the only reason the Pope did this. Yes, bribery.

  13. Hope you guy´s saw the news of a cuban chanting "abajo el comunismo" at a pope´s speech, and then getting linched by tarifados!


    Uh Ah!

  14. Island Canuck10:22 PM

    Could someone please provide me with a source for this gold story.
    Is it really true or just an urban legend?

    Could explain the report a few weeks ago of what appeared to be gold boxes being loaded on a plane to Cuba.

  15. And ironic, the image used to prove I am a human to post the message spelled

    "pealliza tobsi"

  16. Anonymous12:03 AM

    You know- Island Canuck. I don't know when and who dreamed up the idea-of Chavez meeting with the Pope- and making that happen, etc. but -this is the most unbelievable part to me-that it worked! It is not/was not right, agreed.
    And, re. the quote"unusual situations call for unusual actions" something like that..
    And, Chavez will make hay with this for a while.
    And, why did the Pope entertain Chavez and Castro? The Pope must know that he will be used for their propaganda, too..
    Yes, there were reports of gold being shipped to Cuba early on. Was this a trap for the Pope?
    -baited with a pile of gold?

  17. Anonymous5:20 AM

    Here's a quote from Babalu (inside Cuba):

    "I am saddened, yes, as are many other Cubans. I wept today. I am beyond sad: today has been one of the blackest days for me in a long time. The clouds hung low. At one point the sun was blotted out. I could not help but see eleven million crosses, with bodies writhing on them, stretched from one end of Cuba to the other. But I am not broken. Nor is my faith shaken. God works in mysterious ways. The Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth, Pope Benedict XVI has betrayed Cuba. So what? Aside from questions of faith and doctrine, he is as fallible as all of us are, and as prone to moral failure. And as a Catholic, it is my duty to pray for him."

  18. El Papa Y Fidel you have to love it! Fidel was Excommunicated not one but twice by two popes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_excommunicated_by_the_Roman_Catholic_Church You have to wonder what this conservative pope is thinking. Gold is an interesting thought. I just finished watching the series Borgia (pope Alexander 6) on Netflick's so its hard to be surprised. Chavez of course covers all the bases, He is perhaps the only Marxist who loves Jesus,Buddah and Mohammed as needed. Not to mention all the Voodoo saints! Unless the pope grants him a title like "Most Catholic Comandante" or 'Holy Roman Emperator of Latin America" I don't think he will get any support Venezuelans And it could backfire on him.

  19. Anonymous7:16 PM

    Thank you Daniel for mentioning about the
    "Pope and Chavez in Cuba"-It is shameful and lazy of much of the press and other bloggers not to even mention (or very little coverage)this most important topic.
    In my opinion-the visit by the Pope with Fidel Castro and with Hugo Chavez OVERSHADOWED any and all of the other messages the Pope was trying to transmit.Agreed?
    If that is true, then the visit by the Pope was a disaster. I think it was.
    Maybe you could write an article called
    "Hopeless Pope played like a puppet in Havana
    by Castro and Chavez...

  20. Anonymous4:07 AM

    from MarkVA-
    "I too think that something went wrong in Cuba. As to what, precisely, went wrong, we can all speculate till the cows come home – I offered my three cents worth above. After thinking about this visit some more, it also seems to me that the Church in Cuba is comparatively weak and tentative.
    ...no opportunity for the people to form the bonds of solidarity under the Church’s wing. The Cuban state is able to operate on its subjects directly and mercilessly, without having to worry about any resistance from a healthy mediating institution. It is profoundly sad to watch."
    from CharlesC:
    'Thank you for caring. I am so sad that few seem to care much at all anymore-Cuba or the Church…We agree on everything except the
    donation of funds- that is OK.

    One final thought-the relationship with Cuba and Venezuela-wealth of Venezuela
    and what from Cuba =something to think about. Otherwise, the Pope would see
    Cuba as broke, bankrupt, but no.
    In a sense, the Pope gave his blessing to THE RELATIONSHIP WITH VENEZUELA

  21. Anonymous10:32 PM


  22. Anonymous1:17 AM



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