Cuba cardinal, key to better US ties, steps down

Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega officiates mass at St. Lazarus church in El Rincon on December 17, 2013Cardinal Jaime Ortega, the Catholic church’s top official in Havana and a promoter of closer ties with the United States, will be leaving the post, the Vatican announced Tuesday. Pope Francis accepted his retirement, shortly before Ortega is to turn 80, the Vatican said in a statement. The Cuban-born cardinal has been seen as a practical figure in Cuba’s slow and painful post-Cold War life.

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