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Raul Castro meets with top Cuban Church leaders

CWN - May 20, 2010

Cuba's President Raul Castro has held a face-to-face meeting with Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino of Havana and Archbishop Dionisio Garcia, the president of the Cuban bishops' conference, to discuss issues including religious liberty and freedom of expression for political dissidents.

The Cuban government said that during the rare meeting between Castro and the country's Catholic leaders, the discussion turned to "the favorable development of relations between the Catholic Church and Cuba." Archbishop Garcia agreed that it was "a very positive meeting."

The session came just a month after Cardinal Ortega-- who has been instrumental in mediating conflict between the government and dissident groups-- said that he saw a "national consensus" in favor of a more open democratic government. The Vatican's top foreign-policy official, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, is due in Havana for talks in June.

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