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Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 47–61 | Cite as

Cold war triangle? The United States, the Vatican and Cuba

  • Marie GayteEmail author
Article

Abstract

Many observers voiced hopes that Pope Benedict’s March 2012 trip to Cuba would encourage a shift towards more democracy on the island. Pope John Paul II’s 1998 visit had already generated expectations of change similar to those brought about by his trips to Poland in the 1980s, which some credit with having led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. While Cuba did not turn into a democracy in the wake of the Polish pontiff’s trip, the Catholic Church did become the regime’s main interlocutor and managed to carve a space for survival. Since the political changes that have occurred at the helm of power in Cuba in 2006, the United States has been relentlessly pressing the Vatican to act as a catalyst to boost the emergence of a strong civil society that would serve as a basis for democratic change. Yet, American diplomats have to face the fact that like any institution, the Vatican looks after its own interests. This means that it deems the political situation in Cuba acceptable, provided the regime guarantees it sufficient space for operations, notwithstanding the role the United States would have it play. To the contrary, unlike the United States, the Vatican does not appear keen on immediate political transition in Cuba, which it sees as potentially detrimental to its survival.

Keywords

religion politics Cuba Vatican United States 

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Notes

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Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département d’Etudes AnglophonesUniversité du Sud Toulon-VarToulonFrance

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