Skip to content

Pope Francis and the Dictatorships of 21st Century Socialism

Pope Francis and the Dictatorships of 21st Century Socialism

Leer en Español


The pope has the triple power of pastor of the Catholic Church, supreme pontiff of the church, and head of the Vatican State. The faith of millions of Catholics makes the pastor, the supreme power over the ordained and faithful to the pontiff, and he is the absolute monarch of the Vatican. The pope makes politics, since he governs public affairs of global reach and, in that context, his relationship, actions, and omissions with the dictatorships of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, show Francis as the pope of the dictatorships of the socialism of the XXI century.

The pope, as a pastor, is the spiritual father of the Catholic faithful, the highest authority that must take care of the congregation of believers. This authority is founded on faith, which is “the set of beliefs of a religion”, and which in Catholicism is “the first of the three theological virtues, assent to the revelation of God proposed by the church”.

As Pontiff, the bishop of Rome is “the supreme prelate of the Roman Catholic Church,” the absolute head of the ecclesiastical structure comprising all the ordained and the congregation of the faithful. He is the “head of the general ecclesiastical government”, of a global and private organization.

As head of state, he is the supreme authority of the Vatican City State, “the smallest independent state in the world”, born with the Lateran Treaty, signed between the Holy See and Italy in 1929. It is an “absolute monarchy” and the pope “as Head of State and Government has full legislative, executive and judicial powers”.

Respect for life, human rights and fundamental freedoms are central to the principles and values of the Catholic faith, the Catholic Church and the Vatican State. Since the pontificate of Pope John XXIII (1958-1963), the Catholic Church has defended and preached the contents of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Pope Francis, in his “prayer intention of April 2021”, affirmed that “defending fundamental human rights requires courage and determination”.

Francis, the first Latin American pope, “has been recognized for being one of those primarily responsible for bringing about the renewal of diplomatic ties between the United States and Cuba.” In September 2018, Francis “won recognition from both U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuba’s dictator Raul Castro for helping to reestablish relations between the neighboring countries.” Under the title of “pastoral visit” Pope Francis was in Cuba from September 20-22, 2015, which “included a private visit to Fidel Castro.”

On the one-year anniversary of the massive protests of July 11 in Cuba (which continue to be repressed by means of state) terrorism by the dictatorship, Pope Francis was interviewed on Univision News 24/7.  Francis didn’t say a word about the institutionalized violation of human rights. “I love the Cuban people very much,  and I also confess, with Raul Castro I have a human relationship, Cuba is a symbol,” he chose to say instead.

In recent weeks, attention has focused on Pope Francis for his absolute silence regarding the criminal acts of the Nicaraguan dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo with the expulsion of the Missionaries of Charity, persecution, harassment, and imprisonment of Catholic priests and nuns. These horrendous acts include confiscation of media, interventions, and destruction of churches and Catholic symbols such as consecrated images of religion. All this added to the nearly 200 political prisoners, falsified trials, torture, and hundreds of thousands of exiles.

The Castro-Chavist dictatorship of Nicaragua has been perpetrating state terrorism against Nicaraguan citizens applying the Cuban methodology, and lately, it has turned its focus to ordained, religious, priests, and members of the Catholic curia such as Monsignor Rolando Alvarez. Already in 2019 —in an action clearly favorable to the regime— the pontiff removed Monsignor Silvio José Báez from Nicaragua in an act described as “forced exile.”

Worldwide criticized for his “shameful silence,” the pope today expressed his “concern and pain for the situation in Nicaragua” asking for “an open and sincere dialogue” so that “the basis for a respectful and peaceful coexistence can be found”. This is a message of support and cover-up to the dictatorship. It does not point out its crimes in flagrante delicto and puts it on the political level to negotiate with its victims. In his regrettable role, Francis made no reference to the arbitrary detention of the bishop of Matagalpa executed by the dictatorship two days before.

The silence and statements in the tone of simple crises and not of crimes against humanity or state terrorism regarding the human rights violations of the dictatorships of 21st-century socialism is constant on the part of Francis. He does not qualify Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, or Nicaragua as dictatorships. The churches in those countries have been deprived of media and teaching centers and the religious are permanent victims of a violation of their human rights, but the pope, the supreme pontiff, and the head of state of the Vatican remain silent or present scenarios favorable to the regimes of opprobrium.

Is this a sin of omission? Abandonment of his own in the protection of the church as pontiff. Political actions to protect dictatorships as head of the Vatican State. This is the objective reality of Francis, the pope of the dictatorships of 21st-century socialism.


This article is part of an agreement between El American and the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.

Carlos Sánchez Berzain es abogado, politólogo, máster en ciencia política y sociología. Catedrático. Estadista perseguido y exiliado político. Director del Interamerican Institute for Democracy // Carlos Sánchez Berzain is a lawyer, political scientist, with a master's degree in political science and sociology. Professor. Persecuted statesman and political exile. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.

Leave a Reply