Corrupción – Cuba – Corruption
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April 2010
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Cuba wants churches' help in stopping corruption

Cuba wants churches' help in stopping corruption
By ANDREA RODRIGUEZ, Associated Press Writer
– AP

Cuba's Roman Catholic Cardinal Jaime Ortega leads a procession of
worshippers before Palm Sunday mass at the Cathedral in Havana, Sunday,
March 28, 2010. Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus Christ's triumphant entry
into Jerusalem, and is the start of the Christian Holy Week. (AP
Photo/Javier Galeano)

HAVANA — Cuba's Communist Party is asking the island's churches and
religious associations to help it stamp out the small-time corruption,
petty theft and apathy that plague daily life, state media reported Friday.

President and other top officials met privately with
non-Catholic religious leaders this week, imploring them to back the
government's announced efforts to crack down on graft and inefficiency.

"Together we should broaden what we do so that all of us Cubans become
better, more honest, principled workers," said Caridad Diego, the
Communist Party's head of religious affairs.

Cubans get free health care and education, as well as heavily subsidized
food, housing, utilities and transportation, but the government controls
well over 90 percent of the economy and pays employees an average of
about $20 per month.

Salaries are so low that absenteeism is common, and there is little
incentive to excel at work. Many state workers steal food, office
supplies and all manner of other goods and sell them on the black market.

"We have a responsibility to keep working for respect and legality, to
allow Cuban believers to be part of our efforts against vagrancy, lazy
people, corrupt activities or those who facilitate social indiscipline,
corruption," Diego said.

She addressed her remarks Tuesday to Protestant and Jewish elders as
well as top priests of Santeria, which mixes Roman Catholicism with the
traditional African Yoruba faith and is Cuba's most-followed religion.

A transcript of the speech was published Friday in the Communist Party
newspaper Granma, which did not specify exactly what kind of help the
government is asking of the leaders.

The event was held on the 20th anniversary of 's 1990
meeting with religious leaders, after which he began to soften his
government's hard-line stance against religion.

Two years later, Cuba removed references to atheism from its
constitution and allowed believers of all faiths to become members of
the Communist Party.

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