On January 1, 2019, socialist leaders around Latin America congratulated the repressive Communist government of Cuba on its 60th anniversary. They were reportedly briefly joined by the Vatican News Service.
The Vatican News Service, which describes itself as “the new information system of the Holy See,” reportedly offered a tweet (which was quickly removed) with a seeming tribute to honor the Cuban revolution:
As PJ Media reports, the Google Translate English version of the message reads:
The Cuban Revolution celebrated its 60th anniversary this January 1, 2019. On the island, the historic anniversary was celebrated with a ceremony in Santiago de Cuba, in the cemetery of Santa Ifigenia, where Fidel Castro is buried, who died on November 25, 2016. To the main national forces on January 10, 1959, the dictator Fulgencio Batista fled 26 months of guerrilla war led by brothers Fidel and Raul Castro. From Santiago, Fidel Castro proclaimed the beginning of the revolution the victory of the counterculture.
PJ Media notes, “Following the revolution, the new Cuban government declared itself officially atheist and nationalized all property held by religious organizations, including the Catholic Church. Before Castro’s assault on the Church, more than 90 percent of Cubans were Catholic. Hundreds of them, including a bishop, were permanently expelled from the nation.”
Latin American socialist leaders tweeted their congratulations to Cuba’s government; Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro tweeted: “We commemorate the anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution led by Commander Fidel Castro. 60 years of sacrifices, struggles and blockade. There is the heroic Cuban people, an example of resistance and dignity to the world. Long Live Cuba!”
Bolivia’s Evo Morales echoed: “We salute the victory of Bro. Commandant. Fidel Castro and the valiant Cuban people on the proimperialist dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.”
As Paul Kengor noted in the National Catholic Register when Cuban dictator and founder of the Communist regime Fidel Castro died in 2016:
From the moment that Castro took hold in January 1959, churches were in trouble. The regime quickly launched a propaganda campaign against the faithful, describing Catholics as “social scum.” By the late 1960s, Christmas was banned on the island. Churches were shut down. Priests and their parishioners were silenced, arrested or placed under tight surveillance, with every word of every service or homily monitored by government church-watchers infiltrating the pews. Any criticism, especially of the Marxist regime, was very dangerous. One could not be a member of the Communist Party in Cuba (the only party legally permitted, including for any government jobs) without professing a belief in atheism.
In February 2018, as The Washington Post reported, “the Vatican asked two underground Chinese bishops to step down in favor of their Beijing-approved counterparts, one of whom the church in Rome had already excommunicated. Then yesterday, the Vatican indicated it would recognize the legitimacy of seven Communist Party-approved bishops.”
In 2016, after a priest in northern France was murdered by followers of Islamic State, Pope Francis seemingly slammed capitalism, insisting that the inspiration for terrorism was a world economy that worshiped the “god of money … Terrorism grows when there is no other option, and as long as the world economy has at its center the god of money and not the person. This is fundamental terrorism, against all humanity.”
Francis’ views on capitalism were noted in Forbes in 2016:
Pope Francis has made his social and economic tendencies clear since the early days of his pontificate. In his 2013 apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis criticizes the notion that reducing the disproportionately-high income tax burden on high-income earners can stimulate investment and economic growth as a “crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.” For the Holy Father, inequality is the “root of social ills,” though he fails to explain precisely why a society of unequal wealth but a relatively high standard of living would somehow be less reflective of Gospel values than a society that shares equally in poverty.