Corruptos hasta la médula

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The Budapest Bridge

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Liberty Bridge, Budapest

 Hungary’s Role in the Collusion Between the Trump Campaign and the Russian Secret Service

Dr. András Göllner
Hungarian Free Press

 

PART 1

Introduction

It was during the 2016 Presidential election campaign, and for the first time in American electoral history, that a hostile foreign power, aided and abetted by one of the candidates, was able to decisively intervene and significantly influence the outcome of an American election.

American public opinion, the mass and social media, the political establishment and, the country’s secret services, are bitterly divided about the veracity of the relationship between the Russian secret services and Donald Trump’s campaign team. Most commentators claim that even if conclusive evidence of collusion were to be found, it is well nigh impossible to prove, that the relationship had any tangible impact on the outcome of the election.

This first, of a two part series, summarizes some fresh evidence about the nature of the collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign. It will provide some empirically verifiable evidence of the electoral impact of the Russian leaks, in the context of the strategic aspirations of the Trump campaign.

We do not claim to have any insight into the evidence at the disposal of the FBI about the alleged collusion between the Trump team and the Russian secret service. What we have, is evidence, that the FBI is forbidden by law to investigate, because it lies outside the territory of the USA.

This series argues that the place where the FBI, Congress, and the American mass media should be looking for evidence, about the collusion between senior Trump staffers and the Russian secret service is not in America, but in far away Hungary, a member of NATO, the European Union, and a champion of Vladimir Putin in the West.

Some of our evidence is well known. It is known, for example, that the Russians and the Trump campaign had identical strategic interests. They both wanted to position Hillary Clinton as a „crooked and untrustworthy” candidate. What has not been known, up to now is, that the unacknowledged architect of this grand strategy was the notoriously secretive Arthur J. Finkelstein, a long time New York associate of Donald Trump, going back to the Roy Cohen days.

Finkelstein is perhaps the most bitter opponent of Hillary Clinton amongst a small circle of pro-Republican campaign gurus, and a frequent flyer to many of the capitals where Putin is seen as a hero. Finkelstein introduced Paul Manafort years ago to Putin’s pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs, who use their corporate hats, to advance Putin’s fortunes abroad. Finkelstein also had a big hand in Manafort’s addition to the Trump team. Finkelstein has also served as chief political strategist for the past 10 years, to Putin’s most loyal follower in the Western alliance – the Hungarian PM, Viktor Orbán. Finkie, as Orbán is fond to call him, also works for some of the most notorious autocrats of the former Soviet Republics, and always indirectly, so his pay-masters can’t be easily identified – a skill that he passed on to Trump’s ex-campaign chairman, Manafort.

As Steven Bannon confessed to the Hollywood Reporter, after the elections, polling and visceral messaging, a Finkelstein specialty, played a critical part in the Trump campaign. It is not a coincidence, that the campaign’s senior pollster was Tony Fabrizio, who learned his craft on Finkelstein’s knees. Virtually the entire top tier of the Trump campaign, including Roger Ailes and Roger Stone, have close personal ties to the man, who is known worldwide, as „The Merchant of Venom”.

While Finkelstein has been consciously kept out of the Trump campaign’s limelight, the campaign worked from his playbook, and that playbook had an important, hitherto unseen chapter on the art of dealing with Russia’s secret services. This series argues, that the Trump campaign had not only criminal intent (aiding and abetting Russian hacking of a political opponents’s confidential data base) but benefited from its criminal activities, by cornering the political market. (As our evidence about Finkelstein’s role in the campaign began to gather momentum, Finkelstein became unreachable. His friends and associates say, that he is undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer. We hope this is not yet another Finkelstein maneuver to throw people off his scent. We wish him speedy recovery so we can ask him directly, what he was doing on „the Budapest Bridge”.)

Putin’s Trojan Horse and the Trump campaign

During the past 7 years, and much of it thanks to Finkelstein’s successful Hungarian consulting practices, Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s current PM, managed to transform this small Central European country into a pale shadow of it’s former democratic self. Orbán, by his own admission, is Putin’s most supportive champion inside the Western alliance and the first and only Western leader to publicly endorse Trump as a candidate. By conservative estimates, Budapest is home to approximately 1000 members of the Russian secret service, most of them in the possession of Hungarian passports provided for by Hungary’s pro-Russian Ministry of the Interior. (These passports can be had for a hefty fee -300,000 Euros a pop – and after waiting only 30 days, which allows no time for a thorough vetting of the applicant. If passports were to be given to foreign aliens under such circumstances in the US, Homeland Security would be purged from top to bottom. In Canada, the minister would have to resign. In Hungary, this „passport business” has been subcontracted out to some of the most corrupt people in Viktor Orbán’s immediate entourage.)

The Hungarian government’s corrupt passport system, enables Russia’s top operatives to work and travel without any restrictions within the EU, and more importantly, to travel to the USA without a visa. Hungary’s bank laws provide an impenetrable financial shelter to those who are dealing with Putin’s secret services. Orbán’s Ministry of the Interior provides a protective umbrella against internet and telephone snooping. It is no coincidence that Europe’s most notorious right-wing populists, anti-Semites and anti-Muslim radicals, such as Holland’s Gert Wilders and Britain’s Nick Griffin, have established residences in Hungary. It is no coincidence that Putin is a frequent secret visitor. It is also not a coincidence that Finkelstein has a home in Budapest, and was, until recently, in weekly contact with Vladimir Putin’s most loyal Hungarian surrogate, Viktor Orbán.

Finkelstein and Orbán’s top Hungarian strategist, Árpád Habony, have a London based joint company, close to the headquarters of Wikileaks. The Russian leakage of embarrassing information about Hillary Clinton, was coordinated through Budapest, and London, and was designed to lower Clinton’s trustworthiness at pre-planned moments during the campaign. Clinton’s trustworthiness ratings, her public opinion support plumeted, on average, 5% points after each well timed leak, and especially during the closing stages of the campaign. These leaks dominated the news cycles at critical junctions in the campaign. Carefully orchestrated, they drove the all important pro-Trump social media (Facebook, Snapchat, twitter) that left the Clinton campaign grasping for air in the critical battle ground states. Arguing that the leaks had no concrete effect on the outcome of the election in the targeted states, is equal to saying that birds can fly without wings.

Some argue, that one of the reasons why Paul Manafort, Carter Page, and Roger Stone offered to voluntarily testify before the congressional committee is, that they were not the principals in the transactions, that took place on „the Budapest bridge”. We argue, that their eagerness to testify early has an entirely different explanation. They simply wanted to get through the congressional screening process early, before the proverbial brown matter hits the fan, and before the learning curve of the congressional investigators goes up a notch.

Who were the principals on „The Budapest Bridge” the FBI and Congress should investigate particularly closely, apart from Arthur Finkelstein ? The investigations should include Jo Anne Barnhart, Finkelstein’s close personal friend, and managing director of the Hungarian government’s secretive lobby arm in the US, the „Magyar Foundation”. It should include another Finkelstein protegé, and Hungarian lobbyist, ex-congressman Connie Mack IV. The latter is the recipient of a 5 million dollar contract, through a third party, to promote Putin’s Hungarian disciple in America. The Congressional investigators should also talk to Senator Sessions’ right hand man during the campaign, J.D. Gordon, who travelled six times to Budapest, and considers Putin’s Trojan Horse as one of the finest leaders within the Western alliance. Last, but not least, the FBI and the Congressional team should investigate Sebastian Gorka, Bannon’s „terrorism expert” and a man with a 15 year connection to anti-American, pro-Russian, pro-Iranian radicals in Hungary.

In our second installment, we shall provide some empirically verifiable evidence about Gorka’s Hungarian associates, and his 15 year track record in Hungary as an enemy of democracy and the rule of law. That alone should make for his rapid exit from his strategic position in the White House. Our own findings fully support the call of three American senators – Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Ben Cardin of Maryland – who, on March 17, sent a joint letter to the US Justice Department asking the agency to look into whether Gorka “falsified his naturalization application or otherwise illegally procured his citizenship.” We will argue, that Trump’s senior campaign associate, failed to disclose the full extent of his neo-fascist, anti-American, anti-Democratic political ties in Hungary prior to being given American citizenship. By marrying an American multimillionaire, a Trump campaign donor with connections in high places, Gorka managed to secure access to the White House on behalf of forces, that, are diametrically opposed to America’s national interests.
In our second installment we shall provide further evidence of „the smoking gun” in the Trump campaign, and in Mr. Gorka’s closet.

 

PART 2
April 14, 2017

Introduction

In the first part of this series, we argued, that the key players in Trump’s electoral scam have slipped under the FBI’s radar because US laws prohibit the Agency to pursue evidence outside the territory of the US. We also argued, that working with the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior, an adjunct of the Russian secret service, would be the kiss of death to any American investigation.

We offered concrete evidence of the Orbán government’s payment of millions to influential Republicans, such as Connie Mack IV, with the aim of whitewashing the Orbán regime’s ties to the Russian secret service. The publicly available information that we accessed is but the tip of the iceberg, of a massive effort by Hungary to mislead Congress and American public opinion.

It is not our job to tell the FBI or US Congressional bodies how to pursue their job. But it is our duty to inform the representatives of the American people in which direction they should look in pursuing the truth. The second instalment of this report is designed with this purpose in mind.

The electoral impact of the Russian hackings

Evidence about the impact of the Russian hackings on the outcome of the 2016 US elections is so overwhelming that it’s blinding. Trump’s principal campaign message was, that Hillary Clinton cannot be trusted to fix the problems that plague America. She was portrayed day after day, as “Crooked Hillary” the woman who belongs behind bars, rather than in the White House. Every single time, the Russians released some of the DNC’s stolen e-mails, they were feeding this narrative and added oxygen to Trump’s fire.

It is important to acknowledge, that Donald Trump himself, was above board: he openly abetted Putin to disclose what Russia’s secret services stole from the DNC’s data base. The impact of the Wikileaks disclosures is irrefutable. Their impact on Clinton’s trustworthiness rating can be retroactively measured and verified. These leaks measurably increased Clinton’s negatives, played into the Trump campaign’s narrative, decreased her competitiveness at critical moments of the campaign, and especially in the marginal battleground states. While presidential candidates may lie, numbers do not.

The architects of the scam

In our first installment, we argued, that the dynamic behind the numbers was not an accident but was part of a conscious campaign strategy, developed by a trusted Trump advisor, Arthur J. Finkelstein, whose modus operandi is to remain completely out of the public limelight. Even Finkelstein’s closest associates acknowledge his genius in evading detection. Larry Weitzner, CEO of political consulting firm Jamestown Associates, says this about his mentor: “He prefers to work behind the scenes and let the candidate do the talking, unlike other [consultants] who prefer to be Fox TV stars.” A CNN report on Finkelstein had this to say about him: “He is the stuff of Hollywood: A man who can topple even the most powerful foes, yet so secretive that few have ever seen him. Finkelstein has been compared to criminal mastermind Kaiser Sose in The Usual Suspects, who lay so low that some doubted he really existed.”

Finkelstein was Trump’s pick for the anti-Hillary onslaught. Trump knew him well, and used him on previous occasions. He too is a member of the gang that admired the techniques of Roy Cohn, the brain child of McCarthyism, the man, who developed the science of making accusations stick without proper regard for evidence. Finkelstein has been instrumental in numerous Republican victories in New York state. His entire life was dedicated to demonizing Democrats and progressive ideas. And most importantly, he spearheaded the “Get Hillary” campaign in 2006 – he held a decade long personal grudge against Hillary. Finkelstein fit Trump’s aspirations like a fine leather glove fits a hand.

Finkelstein spent most of his time during the Trump campaign in Budapest, off the publicly disclosed campaign payroll. Until recently, and parallel to his “hidden” role in the campaign, he was in virtually daily contact with Hungary’s pro-Russian prime minister. Leakage of the hacked documents, according to our sources was coordinated through Budapest, the European HQ of the FSB, and with Orbán’s knowledge. It is Orbán’s personal ties to the players on “The Budapest Bridge”, that makes him a liability now in the White House. He is drawing too much heat, as the Congressional investigations begin to cast a wider net.  Orbán was hoping for an early visit with Trump, as a token of the American President’s gratitude. With the Congressional investigations under way, plans have changed. In a fit of anger, Mr. Orbán recalled his Ambassador to Washington, Réka Szemerkényi.

We have learned that the London based joint company, set up by Finkelstein and Habony at the start of the Trump campaign (Danube Business Consulting Ltd) played an important role in the transfer of the hacked documents to Assange and Wikileaks. We suggest that apart from Finkelstein, his American consulting partner in Hungary, George E. Birnbaum, and Finkelstein’s Hungarian affiliate, Árpád Habony, Tamás Lánczi, the CEO of Danube Business Consulting should all be questioned under oath. The financial records of the company should be scrutinized, with the assistance of the Scotland Yard. But the net should involve all the players we have named in our first installment.

The line of questioning of those who used the „Budapest Bridge” is also critically important. One of the first questions the FBI, the House and Senate committees should ask Roger Stone, and under oath is this: Does he know of Finkelstein’s “silent” role in the campaign? Was he in contact, during his visits to London with Tamás Lánczi, the Director of Danube Business Consulting, Ltd, and did any of his discussions with Lánczi pertained to the hacked documents of the DNC and their transfer to Wikileaks ?

One of the first things the FBI should do, along with the Congressional intelligence Committees, is to examine J.D. Gordon’s Hungarian agenda book. Gordon was Jeff Sessions’ deputy during the campaign, and served as National Security Advisor to the Trump campaign. He travelled six times to Budapest, the European Headquarters of the Russian secret service. He should be questioned under oath and asked point blank: Who paid for his visits to Hungary, during the campaign? Why was it so important for him to spend so much time in this small, politically insignificant country, as a member of the Trump campaign team? Did he meet Finkelstein or Habony in Budapest, or Lánczi in London? Who were the oligarchs or officials he met in Hungary, and did he ever examine his contacts’ connections to the Russian secret services? Does he know anything about the corrupt passport business run by Orbán’s government? He should also be questioned under oath, why he would classify the Orbán regime as the Trump presidency’s “model” when Orbán, publicly declared, that his government’s “model” is Communist China, and Putin’s Russia, and Erdogan’s Turkey?

Hungary today is anything but a democracy. According to a press release, on March 21 of this year, Hungary’s Civil Liberties Union, and more than one hundred of the country’s top non-government organizations notified the world, that the Orbán regime has declared war on Hungary’s civil society. The freedom of the press is highly restricted. Two years ago, Republican Senator John McCain, referred to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán as a “neo-Fascist dictator”.  Things have become even more desperate since then. . Last week, Hungary’s highest ranking privately owned university – the Central European University – was the victim of a retroactive law, that singled it out for special treatment and without any consultations, because its principal donor is the US financier, George Soros. By the end of year it will have to shut its doors, like its sister University in St Petersburgh. Most international experts, refer to the Orbán regime as Russia’s Trojan Horse in the Western alliance. Given its anti-democratic, pro-Russian track record, it took many Hungarians by surprise, that top Trump advisor J.D. Gordon traveled to Budapest during the campaign and declared that „The team of President-elect Donald Trump deeply admires the Hungarian leader. With Trump in the White House, a new chapter will be opened in American-Hungarian relations. Mr. Trump and Mr. Orbán will become good friends”? Could Trump’s friendship with Putin’s Hungarian disciple hold the clue to how Russia manipulated the margins in the battleground states, the margins, that according to Finkelstein’s pick for the top polling post in the Trump campaign, Tony Fabrizio, led to Clinton’s defeat?

Similar questions should be put to all the other Finkelstein operatives in the US, especially to ex-Republican Congressman Connie Mack VI who is being paid millions by the Orbán regime, to cover up the Hungarian government’s duplicitous relationship with Russia’s secret services.

Last but not least, Sebastian Gorka should be made to testify under oath. What was he doing in Hungary between 1992-2008, before he came to America, and became a close advisor of Donald Trump? Is he, or is he not a member of the notoriously anti-semitic Order of Vitéz in Hungary, an order created by Admiral Horthy, the man who declared war on the USA during WWII? If Gorka covered up his membership in this order, that was created to „keep out Jews” and to protect „the purity of the Hungarian blood”, he should be immediately fired from his White House post, and his US citizenship should be revoked.

Mr Gorka should be asked under oath, if he had any contact during the campaign with the CEO of Danube Business Consulting Ltd, Tamás Lánczi, an old friend of his from Budapest, and part of the shaddowy circle of people with ties to Russia’s secret services. (Tamás Lánczi’s father, András Lánczi was Gorka’s Hungarian PhD thesis supervisor.) Gorka’s questioners should begin, by asking how he got to be working for the ex-communist stooge, Ernő Raffay, who became Deputy Minister of Defense in Hungary, and is best known for snitching on democrats in the communist era, and writing anti-Semitic books after 1990? Why did Gorka work for the neo-fascist, anti-Semitic journal, Demokrata, for years, undermining democracy in Hungary? Why did he work for 15 years alongside ex-communist stooges, neo-nazis, and pro-Iranian radicals in Hungary, who spread hatred about America, and idolise Vladimir Putin to this day?

In case Gorka claims ignorance about the political views of his friend and associates, here are some public statements from two of them, who are, to this day, the closest collaborators of the Hungarian Prime Minister – András Bencsik and Imre Kerényi. We have verifiable public statements from Gorka’s other political associates in Hungary, such as Tamás Molnár, a co-founder of Gorka’s extremist Party, from Zsolt Bayer, the notorious anti-Semitic hate monger, and another pro-Iranian member of this influential circle of friends, the shadowy István Lovas, who masquerades under many an alias. Their public conduct should ban them from any travel to the US. The congressional investigations should explore the ties between these pro-Iranian, pro-Russian extremists and Sebastian Gorka.

András Bencsik, is a former communist Party secretary, and was already well known as an anti-Semitic hate-monger when Gorka worked with him. Bencsik is a member of the Order of Vitéz, an order, that has sworn to uphold the values that Hitler’s most trusted Hungarian ally, Admiral Horthy stood for, until the end of WWII. Bencsik is not only a Hitlerite, but feels, along with Viktor Orbán, that Putin’s autocracy is the way forward for humanity. No wonder, Trump thinks so highly of the Russian dictator, when one of his closest advisors is a former protegé of András Bencsik, Hungary’s best known Putin fan. This is what Bencsik had to say about Vladimir Putin, and this at a time, when Gorka worked for him in Budapest: “Russia has finally shut the door on a chaotic 20th century…and has now embarked on clearly delineated, collectively derived path towards its national interest, one based on tradition, faith, and strength …in a very short time, Putin and Medvedev will determine the fate of world history” (András Bencsik, Demokrata, May 14, 2008.Translation by this author.)

Gorka’s other Hungarian comrade in arm is, Imre Kerényi, who is, to this day, a senior advisor to the Hungarian autocrat, Viktor Orbán. Imre Kerényi was also a loyal communist party member prior to the fall of the dictatorship. He quickly remodelled himself into an anti-American pro-Russian, pro-Iranian advocate during the time Gorka associated with him in Hungary.  This is what Kerényi has to say about America, Iran, and Putin’s Russia. “We are on the threshold a World War III, which the USA will lose…The American high-tech will be destroyed by a white powder.” (Imre Kerényi Médiaegyensúly. Budapest. Kairosz Publishers. 2003. pg. 263.Translation by this author.) In the 2006 Hungarian national election campaign, Mr. Kerényi spoke the following unforgettable words as he campaigned on behalf of his leader, Mr Orbán: “I can reassure all, that pretty soon, there will be a little mound where today, the White House stands in Washington, and on this mound, goats will be grazing peacefully”  (ibid.,) While Gorka worked in Kerényi’s circle, the latter declared publicly, that “The USA is the world’s most despicable country, and even Hungary’s former overlords, the Russians are more likeable than the USA.” In the same speech, Orbán’s current senior advisor argued that Hungary’s political role model should be Iran, and the global Muslim resistance movement that is fighting the Americans in Iraq and elsewhere. (See: Tamás Bihari. “For Kerényi, the Muslims show the way” Népszava. February 28, 2006.) When Orbán, was asked for his views about Kerényi’s hatred of America, he replied, “I wish I had more people like him on my team.” With friends like Viktor Orbán, does Mr. Trump really need any enemies?

To this day, many people are puzzled why Trump and many on his campaign spoke so glowingly of Putin and his Hungarian disciple, Viktor Orbán. Many wonder why Viktor Orbán was the first and only European leader to publicly endorse Trump at the start of the campaign. This series has removed the blanket of secrecy, that shrouded “The Budapest Bridge” and the secretive “Merchant of Venom”, Arthur J. Finklestein, who swore to “get Hillary” for his master. We identified many of the players who traversed this bridge, and provided cover for the collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian secret service. With the backing of “Big Data” moguls like multi billionaire Roger Mercer, and an army of social media trolls, these people not only rigged the 2016 elections but delivered a fatal blow to the American body politics. It is not an exaggeration to say, that until now, they got away with murder.

EPILOGUE

April 21, 2017

“All I know is what’s on the internet”–  Donald Trump

Since I published my two-part series in the Hungarian Free Press, (my favourite blog, the one I lovingly call the “Little Engine That Could”) my phone hasn’t stopped ringing. Some callers breathe hard and tell me to “go back to Israel” and hang up, before I can ask – why should I, when I’ve never been there, and have no money for a plane-ride? As it is, my travels to and fro points of interest these days are confined to the territories I can pedal to on the back of my Chinese-made bicycle. As a Canadian, I welcome spring with open arms – it means, I can once again travel. Cyber space, of course, is another matter. There, I am a globetrotter. I travel faster and in more directions in quick order, than your average water spider.

I wouldn’t want to mislead anyone. I have not only been on the receiving end of calls from heavy breathers, or from friends who warn me to guard my backside from strange looking people carrying black umbrellas. I’ve been getting numerous calls from some of the biggest names working in the mass media from around the globe. Many of them would like to follow up with me and in particular, want access to the names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of my confidential sources in Hungary.

I tell the callers, that approx. 70% of the material in my 2 part series was taken from meticulously researched, empirically verifiable, publicly available Hungarian language sources, the remaining 30% from my network of confidential „informants”. I do not share their names of the latter. Just the other day, Nikolai Andruschenko, a 74 year old informant on the Russian secret service in St Petersburg was beaten to death. I shall not reveal the names of the people who helped me to stumble upon the doggie poo I found along my academic path in the giant forest I’ve been exploring with the tools of the social sciences.

And this brings me to the essence of this epilogue. I have been tremendously impressed by some of the journalists I have spoken to. I hope he does not mind me mentioning his name, since he was one of the callers – the star reporter Carl Bernstein – who brought Richard Nixon to his knees. Parts of the American mass media’s continuing dedication to fact based reporting is, to me, one of the 7 wonders of the world. The rapid demise of that industry as a consequence of cyber technologies, and the movements of the market mechanism’s so-called “invisible hand” is equally astonishing. When I turn on CNN I don’t know whether to cry or laugh. But let’s move on.

I wanted to briefly reflect upon the „object” I found on the floor of that giant forest I’m exploring, and onto which, I wanted to direct the attention of investigative journalists the world over, and via the „Little Engine That Could”. For those who are curious about the „forest” I’m travelling, I’ll provide a brief and easily digestible description. I’m curious to find out why the more than 200 year old marriage between Capitalism and Democracy, which as a child I was always told would last forever, is falling apart in front of my eyes. I’d like to know about the new couple moving into my neighbourhood down the street, across the Potomac, and into many parts of Europe. (I see Mr. Erdogan is coming to visit.)

The Budapest Bridge came about when I took my eyes off the tree tops, and looked at some objects before my feet. Academics generally do not appreciate this kind of shift in focus, let alone the colleagues that engage in talking about what they found on the forest floor. I received a few phone calls from them as well. I reminded them in my sweetest voice, that I am professionally bonded. I’m an Emeritus Professor. I have a day job. I have nothing to lose but my Chinese bicycle. I reassured them, that when we get in the car to drive to the next world congress on counting the cats in Zanzibar, I’ll clean the shit off my shoes.

Where was I anyways? Yes. Fact or fiction. The genius of Arthur J. Finkelstein, Viktor Orbán, Donald Trump, Roy Cohn, Árpád Habony, Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Rebekah Mercer, Sebastian Gorka (hope I didn’t misspell anybody’s name) and all of the characters on the Budapest Bridge derives from their recognition, that what made Homo Sapiens the last of the surviving human species, is their preference for fictional rather than factual language. It is this knowledge of what is our species’ communications default setting, and the ability to act on this knowledge, that enabled the Donald to win the 2016 US elections. The Budapest Bridge was just one of the places where some of the nitty gritty activities were outsourced by this bunch, to keep the news hounds and the FBI at bay.

Here is the „Big Picture” – the secret of Donald Trump’s electoral success. It’s a secret that makes me worry for the safety of my children, and that of my brothers and sisters the world over, now that the Donald has discovered that he can increase his sagging popularity and mass media ratings, by lobbing some nukes into other people’s backyards. Apart from misdiagnosing the locus and the impact of the collusion between certain members of Trump’s team and the Russian secret service, the American mass media also missed the central dynamics of the force that propelled Trump into the White House. Trump won, first of all, because he understands what Canadian media guru, Marshall McLuhan meant, when he predicted, that in the post-modern age, the medium will become the message. Secondly, he won because he understands, what I referred to en passant above – Homo Sapiens prefer fictional, visceral language to factual discourse. Ever since the publication of John Grinder and Richard Bandler’s book, – The Structure of Magic – Mr. Trump has been trained and surrounded by strategists who have mastered both the hardware and the software needed to excel in the field of political deception. (For those who want a more detailed outline of McLuhan’s ideas, please consult his magnum opus, Understanding Media. Regarding the centrality of fictional language to the development of Homo Sapiens, I suggest Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens.)

Let’s listen to Trump’s senior White House strategist, Steve Bannon, and his testimony to the ability of Trump’s team to harness the dynamics of the forces I have just outlined, and what Bannon sees as the outcome of this mastery. “We’ll govern for 50 years. The Democrats have lost sight of what the world’s about. The media has no f***ing idea what’s going on. Donald speaks in a non-political vernacular, he communicates with people in a very visceral way.” (Michael Wolff, The Hollywood Reporter, November 18, 2016) My aim with these three articles was to direct our attention to the pursuit of the animals, who have left their droppings along the path I’m travelling on. My aim was to call on scholars, journalists and concerned citizens, to examine, a bit more closely, the dynamics of the forces that fuel Bannon’s confidence, and the consequences of his confidence for the survival of our species, and our planet.

 

About the Author of this series

András B. Göllner split his time between Budapest and Montreal from 1990 until 2010, as a senior political-economic advisor, on governmental transparency. He organized the current Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán’s first visit to Canada, and learned, through close personal contact, about many of his corrupt practices. He conducted the first and only study (financed by USAID) that looked inside the operations of the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior, which today, works arm in arm with Russia’s secret services. He is an internationally recognized expert on Central European politics, has a PhD in Economics from the London School of Economics, published 3 books, and dozens of articles, in such well known English language media as The LA Times, The Huffington Post, The National Post, or the Montreal Gazette, to name just a few. He is a regular contributor to the Hungarian Free Press. His current status is Professor Emeritus, at Montreal’s Concordia University.

 Author:  A dual Canadian-Hungarian citizen, András B. Göllner is one of the Founders, and International Spokesperson, of the Canadian Hungarian Democratic Charter. With a Ph.D in political economy from the London School of Economics and higher degrees in International Relations from Carleton University and Université de Montreal, András B. Göllner is a respected international scholar on Democratic Governance, Political Communications and on a broad range of business and society issues. He is an Emeritus Associate Professor at Montreal’s Concordia University and the author of a number of well known books and articles on business, politics and international affairs including Social Change and Corporate Strategy. Stamford:IAP, 1983; Public Affairs in Canada. Montreal: IRPP. 1984; and Canada Under Mulroney (ed. with D. Salee), Montreal: Véhicule Press, 1988. He is a frequent speaker at international conferences on both sides of the Atlantic. Following the collapse of communism in Hungary, Dr Göllner played an important role in the broadening of democratic processes in the country of his origin. He coordinated Hungary’s first communications strategy for EU accession, and worked as a strategic communications advisor for various democratically elected governments over the past twenty years in Hungary. He lives in Montreal.

El cardenal Jaime Ortega presenta en Madrid su libro ‘Encuentro, diálogo y acuerdo’

ortega_270x250Testimonio del restablecimiento de las relaciones diplomáticas
 (SP). El cardenal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, arzobispo emérito de La Habana, presenta en Madrid su último libro, titulado Encuentro, diálogo y acuerdo, en el que expone cada uno de los pasos que culminaron con el acuerdo entre Cuba y Estados Unidos mediante el cual ambos países reanudaron sus relaciones diplomáticas en diciembre de 2014.

El libro, recientemente publicado en España por SAN PABLO, se presenta en Madrid el próximo miércoles, 10 de mayo a las 6 de la tarde, en la Casa de América, en un acto en el que intervienen, junto al cardenal Ortega, el cardenal Carlos Amigo Vallejo, arzobispo emérito de Sevilla, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, exministro de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperación, Felipe González Abad, consultor internacional, y Lázaro García Caso, provincial de la Sociedad de San Pablo (Paulinos) en España y presidente de la Editorial SAN PABLO.

El cardenal Ortega fue un testigo de excepción del acuerdo entre Cuba y Estados Unidos, pues el papa Francisco lo escogió para mediar entre ambos gobiernos, después de que sus mandatarios le pidieran a su Santidad que les apoyara en estas delicadas negociaciones. En esta obra, de profundo valor histórico, el lector se adentra, siguiendo la narración en primera persona del cardenal, en un relato trepidante en el que las conversaciones secretas con personalidades clave en la negociación se mezclan con la búsqueda silenciosa y conciliadora del diálogo y el entendimiento, en un sentido homenaje al Papa y a su modo de actuar.

el-cardenal-ortega-con-obama

La política de la posverdad

verdad

Dora Amador| 20/4/2017


El estado de la nación me obsesiona y repele a la vez. Tengo la certeza de que veo la verdad y la defiendo, a pesar de las mil y una distracciones y distorsiones con que nos quieren engatusar desde la Casa Blanca; de las estupideces y vilezas de esta administración republicana.

Decía un comentarista político a quien estaban entrevistando la otra tarde en MSNBC que estaba convencido de que a la Casa Blanca podrían entrar millones y millones de dólares manchados en sangre y que los republicanos mirarían hacia otro lado encogiéndose de hombros. Coincido con el comentarista. Bienvenidos al gobierno de la posverdad.

“En esta era de la política de la posverdad, un mentiroso sinvergüenza puede ser rey. Cuanto más audaz es su deshonestidad, menos le importa que lo cojan con las manos en la masa, más puede él prosperar”, dice el periodista Jonathan Freedland. “Y esos pedantes que todavía se dejan llevar por hechos y pruebas y esas cosas tan aburridas, que se queden en el polvo. Apenas se han terminado de abrochar los zapatos, ya la mentira se ha extendido por medio mundo”. (Los políticos de la posverdad como Donald Trump y Boris Johnson no son broma”. The Guardian, 13 de mayo de 2016).

La perversidad a la que han llegado el presidente y sus cuates, como diría un mexicano, podría ser la causa del estado de conciencia en que me hallo. Es una conciencia alterada, en lucha consigo misma porque la realidad me rebasa.

Y he ahí mi dilema: soy periodista, valoro y busco la verdad, y padezco de la necesidad de difundirla. Pero estoy pegada a Twitter y a los medios como si mi vida dependiera de esa marabunta. Y con una capacidad tope de tolerancia de información, con el deseo de que republicanos de buena voluntad crean a través de lo que expongo la atroz verdad que no ven, que están destruyendo su partido al ser víctimas de la estafa posverdad.

Me aferro a la esperanza de que a partir de la semana que viene, cuando los congresistas regresen de sus vacaciones, se inicie el fin de la más fraudulenta y plutócrata administración que ha tenido esta nación. Entonces el FBI y los Comités de Inteligencia del Senado y la Cámara, con la participación de agencias de inteligencia, incluyendo la CIA, irán desenmascarando a cada uno de los que colaboraron con Rusia en la campaña electoral de 2016 para que ganara las elecciones Donald Trump.

En el tablero se cuenta con suficientes movidas como para dar jaque mate. Me refiero a la colaboración trumpista con Rusia, que sin duda es lo más grave. Pero hay otros elementos peligrosos, como los conflictos de intereses y ciertas decisiones que se han tomado en secreto.

El viernes el gobierno anunció que ya no haría públicos los registros de visitantes de la Casa Blanca. Antes de hacía. Pero Trump no quiere que la gente sepa con quiénes él y sus compinches hacen negocios: dinero, miles de millones de dólares, que para eso aspiró a la presidencia e intentó vender su patria y la democracia.

Pero quien ignore el rechazo, los abucheos, la ira de los votantes republicanos cuando sus representantes fueron a sus ayuntamientos en estos días, está ajeno a la realidad o colabora a conciencia con la catástrofe nacional.

Los conflicto de intereses que confrontan el presidente y su familia al no renunciar a sus empresas millonarias a la vez que dirigen la política exterior y doméstica del país les importan poco, aunque el mundo entero los esté mirando. El día de la cena en Mar-a-Lago con el presidente chino, Xi Jinping, a la compañía de Ivanka Trump se le aprobaran los derechos de venta de su marca en China en varios renglones del mercado: carteras, joyas y servicios de belleza. Sabemos, Ivanka es asesora de su padre y tiene su oficina en la Casa Blanca, pero no cobra un centavo por su trabajo.

Las marchas de protesta en casi todo el país el pasado fin de semana exigiéndole a Trump que enseñe sus contribuciones de impuestos le tiene sin cuidado. No las hará públicas, siendo presidente, insiste, no tiene por qué hacerlo.

El Trump Hotel Washington, D.C se ha hecho sede de miles de reuniones, fiestas y hospedaje de políticos y empresarios de todo el mundo que quieren acercarse al dueño. Y Mar-a-Lago? Hasta la fecha los viajes a su lugar de ocio favorito en Palm Beach, adonde va casi todos los fines de semana a jugar golf, le ha costado a los contribuyentes más de $25 millones. Mientras, hizo recortes drásticos en el presupuesto a los más esenciales servicios alimenticios, educativos y de salud a los más necesitados.

Le pido a los periodistas y a todo amante de la verdad que lean “Posverdad” en Wikipedia. Y que no me venga ninguno a reclamar que esta no es una enciclopedia veraz.

 

El nombre del hombre

 

El obsceno ‘dossier’ del presidente

Donald-Trump-Iowa-REUTERS-800x430

Dora Amador

Todo lo que hemos visto, todo lo que hemos escuchado se podría resumir y concluir de esta forma: Donald Trump ganaría las elecciones presidenciales, Carter Page y asociados obtendrían el 19.5 por ciento en comisiones por la venta de petróleo de Rosneft, a los bolsillos de Trump irían algunos billones, y a cambio, Estados Unidos levantaría las sanciones impuestas a Rusia por su intervención en Ucrania. Por supuesto, Vladimir Putin se encargó personalmente de que Trump llegara a la Casa Blanca. Fait accompli? Nyet!

Rosneft es la mayor compañía petrolera del mundo por su producción, y Carter Page es fundador de Global Energy Capital, y consultor especializado en la industria petrolera de Estados Unidos, Rusia y Asia Central. Page fue nombrado consejero de política exterior de Trump durante su campaña electoral en marzo de 2016.

En septiembre de ese año agentes de inteligencia estadounidenses investigaron ciertos contactos entre Page y funcionarios rusos, sujetos ya a sanciones, incluyendo el dueño de Resneft, Igor Sechin. Page rechazó las acusaciones y dijo que se retiraría de la campaña de Trump.

Pero en enero de 2017, el nombre de Page apareció otra vez repetidamente en el famoso dossier Donald Trump-Rusia, vinculado en el empleo de una firma privada estadounidense que tiene lazos con la campaña de Trump y el Kremlin.

El autor del dossier es el exagente del Servicio de Inteligencia Secreta de Gran Bretaña, conocido como M16, Christopher Steel, cofundador de Orbis Business Intelligence, experto en asuntos rusos. “Un Agente 007 de la vida real” le llaman los que lo conocen en el gremio.

El explosive documento de Steele alega que el Servicio Federal de Seguridad de Rusia (FSB) tiene un kompromat sobre Trump –material dañino o comprometedor que podría ser utilizado por los rusos para chantajearlo–. El dossier indica que el gobierno ruso promovió la candidatura de Trump para crear divisiones en alianzas occidentales (entendamos la OTAN), para que perdiera Hillary Clinton, y que durante la campaña de Trump hubo colaboración entre funcionarios rusos y personas asociadas a la campaña de Trump.

Steele era reconocido por la calidad de su trabajo anterior y por el conocimiento que había desarrollado durante casi 20 años trabajando en asuntos relacionados con Rusia para la inteligencia británica. El FBI encontró a Steele creíble y su información, no probada, lo suficientemente digna como para considerar pagarle para continuar recolectando información.

El exembajador británico en Moscú, Sir Andrew Wood, ha avalado la reputación de Steele. Wood ve a Steele como un “profesional muy competente …Tomo el informe en serio”. También afirmó que “la principal alegación del informe -que Trump y el liderazgo de Rusia se estaban comunicando a través de canales secretos durante la campaña presidencial– era eminentemente plausible”.

De acuerdo con Paul Wood, de BBC News, la información que aparece en el informe de Steele también ha sido reportada por “múltiples fuentes de inteligencia”.

En el dossier se relata en unos párrafos lo que sería una repulsiva escena sexual que resultaría muy valiosa para la inteligencia rusa. Cito parte de ella porque me parece reveladora:

Relata Steele en el dossier: Los rusos “quisieron explotar la obsesión personal de Trump y su perversión sexual para obtener el “kompromat” (material que lo compromete). De acuerdo con la “fuente D”, la conducta pervertida de Trump en Rusia incluyó alquilar la Suite Presidencial del Hotel Ritz Carlton, donde él sabía que el president Barack Obama (a quien odiaba) y su esposa se habían quedado en un viaje oficial que hicieron a Rusia, y ensuciar la cama donde habían dormido, empleando a prostitutas para que realizaran un “show de duchas doradas“ (todas orinando a la vez) sobre la cama, frente a Trump. Se sabía que ese hotel estaba bajo el control del gobierno y tenía micrófonos y cámaras en todas partes”.

La Cia sabe que hay más de una cinta, no sólo vídeo, sino también audio, tanto en Moscú como en San Petersburgo… La CIA piensa que es creíble que el Kremlin tenga tal kompromat.

Fue la “fuente D”, la que le dio a Steele esta información. Esa fuente fue identificada como Sergei Millian, un bielorruso americano dedicado a los negocios, radicado en Atlanta, pero en constantes viajes a Rusia, donde tiene gran parte de clientes y negocios.

La información de Millian –cuyo papel en todo este entramado, lo informó por primera vez el Wall Street Journal y fue confirmado por The Washington Post antier– fue fundamental para el expediente compilado por Christopher Steele.

Para mí, lo más obsceno no son las prostitutas orinando en la cama donde durmieron antes los Obama, es la colaboración de ciudadanos de este país con el enemigo que busca la destrucción de la democracia, de los valores cívicos y éticos que han hecho a esta nación admirablemente grande.

Aquí está el dossier:

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3259984-Trump-Intelligence-Allegations.html

Sobre el dossier y su autor, Christopher Steele:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Trump%E2%80%93Russia_dossier

 

Wednesday Lent week Four

lent_week04

Lawrence Freeman, OSB Blog

John Main thought that the besetting sin of Christians was to underestimate the full wonder of their faith and potential. It is incredible. This is a faith that presents such mind-expanding perspectives about the infinite capacity of human nature and about the relationship between God, nature and the whole human spectrum of tenderness, joy and suffering. Yet in the old Christendom of the West it is now largely seen as dull, socially conservative, moralistic and over-concerned, if not obsessed, with genital sexuality. In other areas, it is distastefully fundamentalist, impolite to other faiths, exclusive and as intellectually restricted as the White House. What went wrong? And, can it be turned around to bring its measure of hope and creative energy to our modern crisis?

If I had to say yes or no I’d say yes. But, of course, I don’t know and the question in this form is probably too grand and abstract. Perhaps at this stage we need a contemplative rather than an ecclesiastical approach. I like the distinction, for example, between ‘ecclesial’ and ecclesiastical’. Both refer to the ‘church’ but with quite different meanings. Ecclesial suggests an emergent awareness of depth and meaning within a welcoming community opening access to something greater than the sum of its parts. It is a living, symbolic world in which we are freed from legalism by the discipline of worship. Ecclesiastical means, well, churchy, which the best religious people would agree is at least unattractive if not actually repellent. Nevertheless, there is such a thing as religious love and it is a wonderful form of love to discover. But it is not churchy.

What we can say is less about ‘how to make the church relevant’ or ‘how to get young people more involved’. We can act from and on the truth that an extraordinary yet universal experience remains latent in every human being. Even without words to explain it,  this experience can be awakened to show each of us the wonder and depth of what Christian faith is all about. For example, peace. This peace that the scriptures speak about all the time is there. Or joy. Joy is an inner spring waiting to be untapped, way beyond the temples of consumerism. If we focused more on awakening this experience the future shape and meaning of the church would unfold and we wouldn’t just be counting the numbers of bums on pews.

In fact, though, we can’t awaken this experience for others. That is the mistake of putting all the emphasis on ‘going to church’. Going to most churches makes sense as a response to this experience rather than as a way of finding it. Although, if you’re lucky, you may find a church with a good and loving community that helps a wide range of people to find this experience for themselves and together.

I’m not sure what this has got to do specifically with Lent. I’ll think of a connection for tomorrow. Except that one of the least churchy expressions of Christianity was that of the early desert monks. They lived and breathed Lent daily with joy, compassion and spiritual intelligence. And, after the words of Jesus, that’s where the wisdom of meditation most powerfully to flow into the Christian way of faithful living.

With Love

Laurence

25 de marzo: la plenitud de los tiempos

Cuba; a un año del inicio del diálogo entre la Iglesia y el gobierno

Clipboard-14792-kj1D-U10701184156137e8C-1024x576@LaStampa.it-R2wZls3uBsxlxBFWahGDq2M-568x320@LaStampa.it
 Vatican Insider/La Stampa  
17/03/2017

Luis Badilla
Santiago de Cuba

En Cuba, donde acabo de estar durante algunos días, para reunirme con expertos y estudiosos latinoamericanos, hay muchos secretos bien guardados, como sucede en todos los países del mundo. Entre ellos, desde hace un año, hay uno muy importante y especial, que algunos amigos cubanos llaman con ironía «el sarcófago». Y es literalmente así. Un verdadero contenedor hermético del que no sale nada. Estamos hablando sobre los encuentros, que comenzaron hace un año entre dos delegaciones de alto nivel: una del Episcopado cubano, guiada por el presidente de la Conferencia de los obispos católicos de Cuba, monseñor Dionisio García, arzobispo de Santiago de Cuba, y la que ha conducido con cautela Bruno Rodríguez, ministro del Exterior del gobierno. Son diez personas, cinco por delegación, que discuten con serenidad y profundidad sobre las relaciones entre la Iglesia y el Estado en la perspectiva de un posible Acuerdo bilateral para que la Iglesia católica local tenga un estatus jurídico que en la actualidad no existe a pesar de las garantías constitucionales concedidas a la libertad de culto y a las religiones (católicos, ortodoxos, hebreos, musulmanes, cultos afro-cubanos).

Un primer acuerdo

Se alcanzó un primer acuerdo fundamental y las partes siguen sus reglas férreas: no revelar nada más allá de las respectivas Delegaciones y de la sede de los encuentros. El ministro del Exterior tampoco confirma la existencia de las negociaciones. La palabra de orden para todos (ministros, obispos, altos funcionarios, diplomáticos y juristas) es una sola: reserva absoluta y total. Este mismo mecanismo, en Cuba, ha funcionado muy bien y con éxito en el pasado, así como lo demuestran recientemente otras dos negociaciones relevantes y muy delicadas: entre La Habana y Washington, que entre 2010 y el 17 de diciembre de 2014 llevó al restablecimiento de las relaciones diplomáticas entre Cuba y Estados Unidos; y la que se llevó a cabo en la capital cubana entre el gobierno de Colombia y el ex-grupo guerrillero de las Farc, que concluyó después de casi cinco años con los esperados Acuerdos de paz.

El «secreto» en cuestión, para ambas partes, tiene un doble significado y una doble utilidad: por una parte, evitar que cualquier detalle de las negociaciones se convierta en un argumento para presiones indebidas que podrían contaminar las conversaciones; por otra, alejar las negociaciones de la instrumentalización de la política internacional, en particular la que tiene que ver con las relaciones entre el norte y el sur del continente americano. Para la Iglesia local, y para el Vaticano, representado por el nuncio Giorgio Lengua, y para el gobierno, bajo la supervisión atenta del primer vicepresidente, Miguel Díaz Canel (quien probablemente sucederá a Raúl Castro, que concluirá su mandato en febrero de 2018, aunque seguirá siendo el Secretario General del Partido Comunista), la cuestión es de fundamental importancia, con enormes consecuencias a nivel internacional e internacional. No se puede fracasar. Cuba no se puede permitir no darle a este proceso una salida positiva y prometedora. Por ello, por lo que dicen los observadores más atentos y mejor informados, estos encuentros no serán «una tantum», es más, es probable que adquieran una organización con mesas de trabajo periódicas.

No a un Concordato 

A pesar de la regularidad y de la amplitud de las conversaciones no se trabaja por un Concordato, porque ninguna de las partes desea este tipo de instrumento. El término parece mucho menos solemne pero es igualmente relevante: «Estatus jurídico», es decir un conjunto articulado de normas legales que permitan que la Iglesia salga de una situación paradójica, única en la región. Es decir la de existir, ser reconocida como interlocutor, como, por ejemplo, en el caso de los prisioneros liberados después de las conversaciones entre el cardenal Jaime Ortega y el general Raúl Castro, pero sin un fundamento legal establecido por la Asamblea Nacional.

En los 15 capítulos y 137 artículos de la Carta Constitucional (proclamada el 24 de febrero de 1976 y que contiene las reformas aprobadas por la Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular en el XI Periodo Ordinario de Sesiones de la III Legislatura celebrada el 10, 11 y 12 de julio de 1992), se lee, en el Artículo 8: «El Estado reconoce, respeta y garantiza la libertad religiosa. En la República de Cuba las instituciones religiosas están separadas del Estado. Los diferentes cultos y religiones gozan de iguales consideraciones». En el Artículo 55 se añade y precisa: «El Estado, que reconoce, respeta y garantiza también la libertad de cada ciudadano de cambiar de creencia religiosa o no tener ninguna y de profesar, en el respeto de la ley, el culto religioso que prefiere. La ley regula las relaciones del Estado con las instituciones religiosas».

 

En esta última frase se aprecia todo el dinamismo de las conversaciones con referencia a la Iglesia católica local y eventualmente también con otras confesiones. Se trabaja, pues, en esta perspectiva con la agenda abierta. No hay condiciones preliminares ni prejuicios. Se dialoga totalmente con la conciencia de que la situación actual ofrece buenas potencialidades para progresar, pero al mismo tiempo límites que hay que tener en consideración. Muchas peticiones de la Iglesia cubana podrían ser aceptadas en poco tiempo, pero otras podrían tardarse un poco más. La Iglesia parece estar consciente de estos tiempos, relacionados con los comportamientos de Donald Trump, pero también al no tan lejos «cambio de guardia» en la cúpula del gobierno y del Estado.

La transición cubana 

Desde hace algunos años se ha ido dando un cambio generacional en la cúpula del Partido y del gobierno en la isla caribeña, impulsado y animado por el mismo Presidente Raúl Castro. El más visible y significativo es el nombramiento del nuevo primer vicepresidente en funciones desde 2013, Miguel Díaz Canel, que nació en 1960, quince meses después de la victoria castro-guevarista del primero de enero de 1959. Siguiendo el camino del cambio generacional se trabaja mucho y con tenacidad, en particular en las provincias, de donde parece que está surgiendo la clase dirigente que tomará el puesto de los comandantes históricos de la insurrección. Solo siguen con vida tres de ellos, y después ni siquiera existirá el mítico título.

Según diferentes observadores, gran parte del posible éxito del diálogo entre la Iglesia y el Estado depende de la capacidad de los católicos cubanos, y de la jerarquía, para aferrar el sentido profundo del proceso actual, y ello requiere necesariamente una renovación de la Iglesia misma. Iglesia viva, dinámica, presente, pero (me lo dijeron en varias ocasiones) «tímida y en segundo plano», todavía alejada de la exhortación bergogliana que impulsa a salir de las sacristías cerradas y polvorientas. La idea de Papa Francisco sobre las insidias de una vida encerrada en sí misma, con al que se corre el peligro de convertirse en una «Iglesia raquítica, con normas fijas, sin creatividad, asegurada pero no segura», está presente en las comunidades eclesiales cubanas, pero todavía no parece haber arraigado profundamente la conclusión del Pontífice: «Entonces entre una Iglesia enferma y una Iglesia accidentada prefiero la Iglesia accidentada, porque, por lo menos, está en salida».

Este temor está muy difundido en parte en la jerarquía, en el clero y entre los laicos comprometidos, que están aumentando entre los jóvenes que ponen mucha atención en la guía de la vida ordinaria diocesana. Y aquí surge un problema para nada irrelevante y que forma parte de la agenda de las conversaciones con el gobierno: las limitadas posibilidades que la Iglesia local tiene para hacer visible, mediante la prensa, su mensaje y su trabajo. Y esto pesa sobre todo en las experiencias eclesiales y en la evangelización «en salida» que ha pedido Papa Francisco. Esta visibilidad sí existe en la actualidad, pero con límites en las solemnidades religiosas más importantes (la Semana Santa, la Navidad y la fiesta de la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre), por lo que algunos de mis interlocutores se refirieron a un «acceso litúrgico a la prensa», como si el uso de los medios estuviera limitado para los calendarios de las festividades eclesiales. En este ámbito todavía existe una especie de barrera que divide la vida cotidiana del catolicismo cubano del dinamismo y de la dialéctica de la sociedad cubana, que hoy vive un gran fermento y que se está preparando para grandes cambios.

Las perspectivas del diálogo 

Las perspectivas del diálogo entre la Iglesia y el Estado en Cuba son muy prometedoras, según lo que he podido constatar entre los observadores mejor informados. Pero, obviamente, esto no quiere decir que no existan problemas y que a veces las distancias entre las partes todavía sean notables, en particular en relación con argumentos que indicen directamente en el orden institucional (educación católica, enseñanza e instituciones, pro ejemplo). Una cuestión de fondo, que siempre hay que tener presente al analizar estas negociaciones y al considerar que hay realidades en rápida evolución y transformación, y estos fenómenos tienen consecuencias recíprocas. Francisco tuvo en mente esta realidad cuando visitó Cuba hace 18 meses, y lo expresó, hablando sobre el diálogo, con una frase que no se olvida en la Isla: «Bien, negociemos. ¿Qué podemos hacer en común?».

Amistad social

El 20 de septiembre de 2015, al llegar a La Habana, Papa Francisco hizo algunas consideraciones, comentando la reflexión de un joven en el Centro Félix Varela, que quedaron impresas con fuego en Cuba. Durante los días de mi estancia cubanos católicos y no, expertos, estudiosos y periodistas me recordaron varias veces pensamientos que tienen que ver con el diálogo, la búsqueda de soluciones en común, la metodología para construir puentes y derribar muros. «Dijiste una pequeña frase que había escrito aquí, durante tu intervención, pero la subrayé y tomé algunos apuntes: que sabemos acoger y aceptar a los que piensan diferente», dijo Francisco al joven. Después añadió: «en realidad, nosotros, a veces, somos cerrados. Nos metemos en nuestro pequeño mundo: “O es así o nada”. Y fuiste más allá: que no nos encerremos en los “conventillos” de las ideologías o de las religiones. Que podemos crecer frente a los individualismos. Cuando una religión se convierte en “conventillo” pierde lo mejor que tiene, pierde su realidad de adorar a Dios, de creer en Dios. Es un “conventillo”. Es un “conventillo” de palabras, de oraciones, de “yo soy bueno, tú eres malo”, de prescripciones morales. Y cuando yo tengo mi ideología, mi modo de pensar y tú tienes el tuyo, me encierro en este “conventillo” de la ideología».

El Pontífice concluyó sus exhortaciones subrayando: «Corazones abiertos, mentes abiertas. Si piensas de manera diferente que yo, ¿por qué no hablamos? ¿Por qué siempre estamos discutiendo sobre lo que nos separa, sobre lo que nos diferencia? ¿Por qué no nos damos la mano en lo que tenemos en común? Debemos tener la valentía de hablar de lo que tenemos en común. Y después podemos hablar de lo que tenemos de diferente o de lo que pensamos diferente. Pero digo: hablar. No digo discutir. No digo encerrarnos. No digo “chismear”, como has dicho tú. Pero eso es posible solo cuando tengo la capacidad de hablar de lo que tengo en común con el otro, de eso por lo que podemos trabajar juntos».

La enemistad social destruye 

Después, Papa Francisco en La Habana concluyó sus palabras con este recuerdo nada casual: «En Buenos Aires (en una parroquia nueva, en una zona muy, muy pobre) un grupo de jóvenes universitarios estaba construyendo algunos locales parroquiales. Y el párroco me dijo: “¿Por qué no vienes un sábado y así te presento?”. Se dedicaban a construir el sábado y el domingo. Eran chicos y chicas de la universidad. Fui y los vi, y me los presentaron: “Este es el arquitecto, es hebreo; este es comunista; este es católico practicante; este es…”. Eran todos diferentes, pero todos estaban trabajando juntos por el bien común. Esta se llama amistad social, buscar el bien común. La enemistad social destruye. Y una familia se destruye por la enemistad. Un país se destruye por la enemistad. El mundo se destruye por la enemistad. Y la enemistad más grande es la guerra. Cada día vemos que el mundo se está destruyendo por la guerra. Porque son incapaces de sentarse y hablar: “Bien, negociemos. ¿Qué podemos hacer en común?”. Cuando hay división, hay muerte. Hay muerte en el alma, porque estamos matando la capacidad de unir. Estamos matando la amistad social. Esto es lo que les pido hoy: sean capaces de crear la amistad social».

(Colaboró Francesco Gagliano)