HAVANA – The Vatican says Cardinal Jaime Ortega, who oversaw a warming of relations with the Communist government and played a role in the secret negotiations that led to U.S.-Cuba detente, has stepped down.
He is being replaced as archbishop of Havana by Juan de la Caridad Garcia Rodriguez, the archbishop of the eastern city of Camaguey. Church statements Tuesday did not say if Garcia will be appointed cardinal.
The church said Pope Francis accepted Ortega's resignation, which was presented in 2011 under a church rule requiring archbishops to offer their resignation when they are 75. Ortega was named Archbishop of Havana in 1981 and oversaw three papal trips to Communist Cuba. He was so trusted by Cuba that he ferried messages between Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama during detente negotiations.