Cardinal Bertone Censures Embargo Against Cuba

Says It Does Little to Help the People

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HAVANA, Cuba, FEB. 26, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's secretary of state has called the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba "ethically unacceptable."



Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone reiterated Monday the opposition of the Holy See to the economic embargo against Cuba in a joint press conference with the country's Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque.

"The Holy See repeats the words of Pope John Paul II: The embargo is ethically unacceptable," said the Vatican representative. "It is an oppression for the Cuban people and it is not a means to help the Cuban people win their dignity and independence. It's a violation of the independence of the people."

The cardinal revealed that he asked the U.S. government to facilitate the reunification of Cuban families, of which many members have emmigrated to the United States.

Cardinal Bertone said this gesture would be a "humanitarian" one. "We will make every effort possible in that direction," he added.

Cubans residing in the United States are by law only allowed to visit their families every three years.

The cardinal is in Cuba to mark the 10th anniversary of John Paul II's apostolic trip to the island nation.

He met today with President Raúl Castro Ruz, 76, who was elected to lead the nation Sunday. He succeeds his brother, 81-year-old Fidel Castro, who ruled Cuba for nearly 50 years.

Cardinal Bertone returns to Rome this evening.