For the second year running a Christmas message has been read on National television by the Roman Catholic of Cuba, it seems that once an atheist communist government has now become highly interested in Religion. During the broadcast, Cardinal Jaime Ortega expressed his thanks as the Island’s families were able to reunite with their families living in the United States. This came upon as President Barack Obama removed restrictions that forbid any relationship between the Americans and Cubans.
The complete message was aired on Cuba’s government controlled television. A spokesperson for Havana’s Conference of Bishops, Orlando Marquez confirmed that the authorities had planned to show a Christmas concert that took place at the National Cathedral.
A retired mother Elisa Ramos was over the moon, she had not seen her son in 12 years and this would be the first time – she had mentioned that this was the best thing that happened to them.
After Jaime Ortega’s broadcast, there have been some growing signs of some improvement between the relationship of the government and the church.
In November 2008, President Raul Castro astonishingly joined thousands of faith believers for the beatification of Friar Jose Olallo Valdes in the city of Camaguey.
Raul took over his brothers place Fidel Castro as president earlier in the year of 2008. His first diplomatic meeting was with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Pope Benedict XVI’s secretary of state. Bertone was commemorating the 10th Anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s visit in Cuba.
Religion in Cuba was affected in 1959, this was after Fidel Castro was designated as President of the Country. The government closed down religious institutions and expelled priests. However, changes were made in 1990 – all reference to “no religion” had been removed and people with different faiths were allowed to unite with the Communist Party. Later in the year, the condition changed when a visit from Pope John Paul II was made to Cuba.