Cuba and Holy See, 85 years of diplomatic relations
Rome (Prensa Latina) Prior to its 85th anniversary, the uninterrupted diplomatic relations between Cuba and the Holy See are currently characterized by open, respectful dialogue and the mutual will to continue developing them.
This was expressed to Prensa Latina by Cuban Ambassador to the Holy See Jorge Quesada, who stressed that these ties are based on mutual trust and recognition, based on dialogue reinforced by the diplomatic work done by the representatives of both sides.
Quesada talked about the role played by Monsignor Cesare Zacchi (1914-1991) who, during the years he stayed at the Apostolic Nunciature in Havana, developed a work that favored rapprochement between the State and the church, and maintained a personal friendship with then President Fidel Castro.
The diplomat also praised the work done by writer and journalist Luis Amado Blanco (1903-1975), who was also the Cuban ambassador to the Holy See for more than a decade and became doyen of the diplomatic corps until his death in Rome.
As relevant moments of bilateral relations, Quesada mentioned the official visits to the Vatican City by Cuban Presidents Fidel Castro in 1996 and Raul Castro in 2015, when they were welcomed by Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis, respectively.
Also on the list is the visit paid Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in 2013, when he headed the Cuban delegation to the beginning of Pope Francis's pontificate, then as a First Vice President of the Councils of State and of Ministers.
The 59-year-old diplomat, who has spent 37 years as an official of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with previous experiences as an ambassador to Greece and Turkey, also referred to the apostolic visits to Cuba by Pope John Paul II in 1998, Pope Benedict XVI in 2012 and Pope Francis in 2015.
The fact that the last three Popes have visited Cuba makes us, along with Brazil, the two Latin American countries with that privilege, he said.
On each of these visits, not only authorities but also the Cuban people have shown respect, affection and hospitality to the three Popes, who, at the same time, could know better a people who are certain about their convictions, a noble, educated, fair and organized people that defend truth and listen to with respect, he noted.
He also highlighted the meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in Havana, in February 2016, when they signed 'a well-known and historic joint declaration.'
The fact that Pope Francis decided to choose the Cuban capital to hold this meeting and his comment that Havana could become the 'capital of unity' undoubtedly was a significant element and a recognition for our country, the diplomat added.
On that occasion, the Holy Pontiff met with President Raul Castro, as a continuation and strengthening of the bilateral ties, he stated.
Referring to the activities to commemorate this anniversary, suspended by the emergency generated by the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the ambassador stated that both sides grant great importance to the celebration, so they will do their best to commemorate the date before the year ends.
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