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Rome Reports

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Cardinal Jaime Ortega, the man who welcomed three popes to Cuba


Card. Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino is considered one of the most important figures of the Cuban Catholic Church.

As a priest he was condemned to forced labour. Additionally, as cardinal he faced difficult relations between the communist regime and the Church.

He was one of the few prelates who received the last three popes in his country. In 1998 John Paul II, in 2012 Benedict XVI and in 2015 Pope Francis.

The invitation to Cuba is a preannouncement. The Cuban President knows well who the pope is and if he invites him it means he has thought first about who he is inviting.

I come to Cuba as a pilgrim of charity.

Dream that the world with you may be different..

He is remembered for his dedication to the social needs of the Caribbean island. In 1991 he helped established Caritas in Cuba.

In 2016 he became bishop emeritus of Havana. In recent times his health was broken by pancreatic cancer.

Despite the political situation in his country, he was an interlocutor and was listened to by everyone on the island. 

Many considered him a wise and prudent man who always talked with both sides, which annoyed some who asked him to condemn the dictatorship.