Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On The Passing Of Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, Of Cuba

[Over the course of two decades, Senator Leahy and Cardinal Ortega became close friends and partners in the negotiations that ultimately led to the restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba.]

“I will never forget my very first meeting with Cardinal Ortega in Havana, because Marcelle and I recognized immediately that this was a man of the highest integrity, of immeasurable devotion to the humanitarian mission of the Catholic Church and to his country, and of unwavering determination to improve the lives of the Cuban people.  Cardinal Ortega and I met many times, and I valued enormously his friendship and guidance.  I asked Cardinal Ortega to seek Pope Francis’ support for reconciliation between the United States and Cuba.  It was Cardinal Ortega who hand-delivered the Pope’s response to President Obama.  Throughout his life of service to the Cuban people, during times that were often fraught with difficult challenges, Cardinal Ortega was a steady voice of reason, of compassion, and of defense of fundamental rights and liberties.  For many of us, he was Cuba’s conscience.  He will be missed by the millions of people whose lives he touched, in both our countries, and around the world.”


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