On November 25, 2016, Cuba’s longtime dictator Fidel Castro finally died at the ripe old age of 90.
Reuters reports the next day:
Pope Francis said the death of Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro was “sad news” and that he was grieving and praying for his repose.
Francis expressed his condolences in a Spanish-language message to Fidel’s brother, President Raul Castro on Saturday.
The pope, who met Fidel Castro when he visited Cuba last year, said he had received the “sad news” and added: “I express to you my sentiments of grief.”
The dictionary defines “grief” as sadness, pain, or great sorrow over a loss.
Below is a glimpse of the kind of man Fidel Castro was, for whose death Pope Francis, real name Jorge Bergoglio, “grieves”:
- Though baptized as a Catholic and educated in schools run by the Jesuits, the same religious order as Bergoglio, Castro was an avowed atheist who persecuted the Catholic church during his reign, sending priests to re-education camps and restricting the celebration of Christian holidays. Castro was reportedly excommunicated under an anti-Communist decree by Pope Pius XII in 1962.
- Forbes magazine reports that despite the warm reception given Pope Francis last fall, the Cuban government not only continues to persecute Christians, a new report by Christian Solidarity Worldwide warns of “an unprecedented crackdown on churches across the denominational spectrum,” which has fueled a spike in reported violations of freedom of religion or belief to 2,300 cases of violations in 2016 from just 40 cases in 2011. Many of the government’s crackdowns “involved entire churches or, in the cases of arrests, dozens of victims.”
- While pretending to be for the common people, Fidel actually lived a life of luxury and debauchery, according to a book by Castro’s longtime bodyguard Juan Reinaldo Sanchez, The Double Life of Fidel Castro: My 17 Years as Personal Bodyguard to El Líder Maximo. As recounted by the New York Post: “With his shaggy beard and rumpled, olive-drab fatigues, Fidel Castro presented himself to the world as a modest man of the people. At times, he claimed he made just 900 pesos ($43) a month and lived in a ‘fisherman’s hut’ somewhere on the beach. But Castro’s public image was a carefully crafted myth, more fiction than fact. While his people suffered, Fidel Castro lived in comfort — keeping everything, including his eight children, his many mistresses, even his wife, a secret . . . . Castro . . . made a personal fortune offering safe haven to drug traffickers, bedded a bevy of women over the decades, and once threatened his own brother, Raul, with execution when the brother lapsed into alcoholism in the ’90s . . . . Castro kept 20 luxurious properties throughout the Caribbean nation, including his own island, accessed via a yacht decorated entirely in exotic wood imported from Angola . . . . [Castro’s 5 sons with his second wife] grew up in hidden luxury on an estate outside Havana. With its orange, lemon, mandarin, grapefruit and banana trees, the estate resembled a veritable garden of Eden — especially if one compared it with the notorious ration book that all Cubans had to use to buy food. . . . Each member of the family possessed his or her own cow, ‘so as to satisfy each one’s individual taste, since the acidity and creaminess of fresh milk varies from one cow to another.'” Meanwhile, the Cuban people lived in deep poverty — of crumbling houses, food rations, and teen prostitution. Political opponents were executed by the thousands by firing squad, or sentenced to decades of hard labor.
To call Jorge Bergoglio “Pope” is a travesty.
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