“ Castro meets with church leaders ”

HAVANA – President Raul Castro has held a rare  sit-down with Cuba’s Roman Catholic cardinal and another top cleric, discussing many issues, including  a recent crackdown against dissidents that ended only after the mediation of the church.The meeting with Cardinal Jaime Ortega and Archbishop Dionisio Garcia was a sign of the church’s growing influence on the island. The talks went on for more than four hours, Garcia told The Associated Press yesterday. Garcia, the archbishop of Santiago, is also leader of the Conference of Bishops of Cuba. (AP)