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“Conversion of Russia” Update:

Cuba and Russia As Close As Ever

by Christopher A. Ferrara

As Vladimir (“the Practicing Christian”) Putin cracks down on the Catholic Church in Russia, it should hardly surprise Fatima-oriented observers of the world scene that relations between Russia and Cuba — where another crackdown on Catholics is underway — are as good as ever.

Some five years after the Pope’s visit to the little communist isle — a visit that the neo-Catholic talking heads on EWTN assured us would mean a new day for freedom in Cuba — things are worse than ever for the Catholic Church under Castro. A report by Toby Westerman of inatoday.com (April 18, 2003) warns that: “As the world’s attention centers upon Iraq and Syria, a new ‘red terror’ is sweeping across the Caribbean island of Cuba. ‘People are afraid… Castro is inflicting terror’ upon the Cuban people, states Ninoska Pérez, a director of the Cuban Liberty Council, an organization devoted to the establishment of democracy in Cuba.”

Pérez was referring in particular to Castro’s recent imprisonment of 78 Cubans for up to 28 years — a “wave of oppression [that] ‘shows the magnitude of Castro’s despotism,” she told inatoday. Pérez added that “This is a big blow to the dissident movement in Cuba… [and] sends a message to the people around him [Castro], the people on the street, that there is a limit to what he will tolerate.”

Ah, but through it all Fidel has never lost the support of his dear friends, Red China and “formerly communist” Russia. As Westerman reports: “China maintains ‘high level military contacts’ with Cuba, and is constructing an electronic spy base eight to ten miles from Russia’s intelligence facility, according to Dennis Hays, Executive Vice President of the pro-democracy exile group, the Cuban American National Foundation. The Chinese spy base, which would be capable of intercepting, and possibly jamming, U.S. electronic signals, ‘should be a security concern’ to the U.S.”, said Hays.

And then there is old buddy Russia. Westerman notes that “Havana proudly boasts of Moscow’s continuing interest in Cuba, quoting Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov’s recent remarks concerning Cuban-Russian relations. During a March, 2003 meeting in Moscow with Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque, Ivanov stated that ‘Moscow considers Cuba its key partner in Latin America’, according to Radio Havana Cuba.” And this is not just puffery by Radio Havana. In fact, says Westerman, “not only does Russia have close relations with Cuba, Moscow is also the chief sponsor of China’s vast military modernization program, enabling Beijing to eventually challenge the U.S. in the Pacific, and potentially — with Cuba’s help — in the Caribbean.”

But not to worry, dear reader. Russia was “consecrated” to the Immaculate Heart back in 1984 — and so what if the ceremony in question never even mentioned Russia but only the world? Picky, picky, picky. Surely we can trust the Vatican bureaucracy when it tells us that a consecration of the world is just as good as what the Mother of God requested. And who could doubt the wisdom of Vatican bureaucrats, given the marvelously healthy condition of the Church over which they preside?