US-Cuba thaw ends continent’s polarization: Vatican

Friday, July 10th, 2015. Filed under: World News
Pope Francis comforts Glyzelle Palomar, after sharing her experience as a former street child, during the youth encounter at the University of Santo Tomas Sunday. Thousands of Catholic faithful, mostly young people attended the celebration at UST. (MNS photo)

Pope Francis comforts Glyzelle Palomar, after sharing her experience as a former street child, during the youth encounter at the University of Santo Tomas Sunday. Thousands of Catholic faithful, mostly young people attended the celebration at UST. (MNS photo)

Vatican City, Holy See (AFP) – The re-establishment of US-Cuban diplomatic ties ends the Cold War on the American continent and lifts an “ideological barrier,” the Vatican’s chief diplomat said Friday.

In an interview with the Roman Catholic Italian daily Avvenire, Paul Gallagher, a British archbishop who is the Vatican’s de facto foreign minister, said the 54-year break had not only blocked interaction between the two countries but also “put the brakes on dialogue between North and South America.”

Speaking ahead of trips by Pope Francis to both South and North America, Gallagher said the thaw “marks the end of the Cold War on the American continent and gets rid of an ideological barrier which now passes into history.”

The United States and Cuba on Wednesday agreed a historic deal to re-establish full diplomatic relations, severed at the peak of the Cold War.

Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro exchanged letters agreeing to unfreeze ties on July 20, when embassies in Washington and Havana can be reopened.

Obama – born the year the US embassy was closed in 1961 – called on domestic critics to stop “clinging to a policy that was not working.”

“This barrier gave an obsolete justification to the polarization between two opposed blocs,” said Gallagher.

He added that the Vatican hoped that the “courageous decision” to renew ties would help resolve conflicts elsewhere in the region.

Pope Francis on Sunday begins an eight-day tour of Latin America, where he will visit Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay.

In September he will visit both Cuba and the United States.

Gallagher said that the Vatican was keen to help promote dialogue between the two Cold War foes.

Drug-trafficking is another issue which concerns the pontiff, who is expected to raise the issue during his Latin America trip next week.

Related posts

Pope says never again, recalling ‘horrific’ WWII atomic bombingsGlobetrotting Pope Francis to travel to Latin AmericaPope says he will visit US in September 2015 Pope Francis declares John Paul II, John XXIII saints ‘We don’t want your dirty money’, pope tells patronsPope unleashes ‘super confessors’ to tackle special sinsPope warns gossiping priests, nuns to ‘bite your tongue’500 years after reformation, Pope knocks on Lutherans’ door500 years after reformation, Pope knocks on Lutherans’ doorPope signs up for World Youth Day using iPadPope voices sadness over Libya beheadings of ChristiansPope tells clergy: ‘Never try to cover up child abuse’Pope Francis in PHL 2016?Big business cashed in on ‘Brand Pope’ during pontiff’s visit Pope attracts world-record crowd at LunetaPresident Aquino appeals for ‘Bayanihan’ to ensure people’s safety during Papal visitPope says baptism is for everyone, even Martians Original Jesus Ted Neeley brings ‘Superstar’ to RomeGardens of popes’ sumptuous summer palace open to publicVatican unveils Nativity scene on pope’s first Christmas