On the continuing question of whether Pope Francis is a menace or a farce, the Holy Father offered another data point during an interview with members of the media aboard his flight to the United States on Tuesday. CNN’s Rosa Flores asked a pretty straightforward question about Francis’s refusal to meet with Cuban dissidents. Here’s the pope’s response:
Rosa Flores, CNN:Good afternoon, Holy Father. I am Rosa Flores of CNN. We understand that more than 50 dissidents were arrested outside the nunciature [in Cuba] as they were trying to have a meeting with you. First, would you like to have a meeting with the dissidents, and if you had that meeting, what would you say?
Pope Francis: Look, I don’t have any news that that has happened. I don’t have any news. Some yes, yes, no, I don’t know. I don’t know, directly. The two questions are about reading the future. Would I like this to happen? … I like to meet with all people. I consider that all people are children of God and the law. And secondly, a relationship with another person always enriches. Even though it was soothsaying, that’s my reply. I would like to meet with everyone.
If you want me to speak more about the dissidents, you can ask me something more concrete. For the nunciature, first, it was very clear that I was not going to give audiences because not only the dissidents asked for audiences, but also audiences [were requested] from other sectors, including from the chief of state. And, no, I am on a visit to a nation, and just that. I know that I hadn’t planned any audience with the dissidents or the others. And secondly from the nunciature, some people made some calls to some people who are in these groups of dissidents, where the responsibility was given to the nuncio to call them and tell them that I would greet them with pleasure outside the catHedral for the meeting with the consecrated [religious]. I would greet them when I was there, no? That did exist. Now, as no one identified themselves in their greetings, I don’t know if they were there. I said hello to the sick who were in wheelchairs. … Oops, I’m speaking Spanish. I greeted those who were in wheelchairs, but no one identified themselves as dissidents; but from the nunciature calls were made by some for a quick greeting.
(Follow up from Flores on what he would tell them if he met with them.)
Pope Francis:Oh, my daughter, I don’t know what I would say. (laughs) I would wish everyone well, but what one says comes in that moment and … You’ve got the Nobel Prize for being a reader of the future, eh? (laughs)
Secretary of State John Kerry will be meeting with Cuba's foreign minister tonight. The meeting will occur in Panama.
".@JohnKerry will meet with Cuban Foreign Minister Rodriguez tonight in Panama City, where they're both attending the Summit of the Americas," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf announced this evening on Twitter.
.@JohnKerry will meet with Cuban Foreign Minister Rodriguez tonight in Panama City, where they're both attending the Summit of the Americas.
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and eight other members of a congressional delegation that recently headed to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti, spoke positively of the trip at a press conference on Tuesday. They not only met with government officials in each country, but they also visited the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba, and spoke with Cuban members of civil society. “People in the streets were very enthusiastic,” said Pelosi.
Barack Obama’s accommodation with Castroite Cuba is a low point in the history of American international relations. Benjamin Franklin affirmed, “Where liberty dwells, there is my country.” The Obama administration, in its attitudes on Iran, Syria, and Ukraine as well as on Cuba, appears to prefer the principle, “Where tyranny dwells, there is my country.”
Sometimes a handshake is more than just a handshake. When President Obama warmly embraced the late Hugo Chávez at the 2009 Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, he lent respectability to a brutal autocrat who had crippled Venezuelan democracy, terrorized his political opponents, and supported both the Iranian theocracy and the Colombian FARC. When then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hugged Ecuadorean leader Rafael Correa during a visit to Quito in 2010, she made Correa seem like a normal democratic president, rather than a thuggish Chávez acolyte who had persecuted independent journalists and gravely weakened his country’s public institutions.
At 10:12 p.m. last night, President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle returned to the White House after a long day of inaugural festivities. Twenty minutes later, aides to the president relieved the on-duty pool reporter, who was sent home as the president would no longer be leaving the White House or appearing publicly.
But was there a party going on there, a private bash to celebrate Obama's Second Inaugural? It seems like it. San Antonio mayor Julián Castro tweeted this picture of himself and his twin brother Joaquin:
Mariela Castro, the daughter of Raul Castro, endorsed President Obama on CNN:
"I believe that Obama is a fair man," Castro says. "And Obama needs greater support to be able to take this decision. If Obama counted on the full support of the American people, then we could normalize relationships--we could have better relations than what we had under President Carter."
"Do you want Obama to win the next election?" she is asked.
It’s a familiar trick: When the Castro regime wants something from the international community, it makes a grand show of releasing political prisoners, in hopes of convincing foreign officials that Cuba has liberalized and thus deserves to be rewarded.