GUATEMALA CITY (CWN) - Cuban writer Carlos Alberto Montaner, one of the most influential Anti-Castro Cubans in exile, announced on Wednesday that he will support a moderate critique of Cuban leader Fidel Castro as a response to Pope John Paul's visit to the country last week.

      Montaner, a journalist and writer who was initially a supporter of the Cuban Revolution and was later imprisoned in Havana because of his criticism of Castro, said during a visit to Guatemala that he will promote "a dramatic change in favor of moderation" in the anti-Castro strategy.

      "Anti-Castro strategy, after the Pope's clear request, is moving into a moderate stance, and for the first time in history, we will promote a peaceful and bloodless evolution into democracy."

      Montaner, who writes one of the most influential syndicated columns on the Cuban situation, said that his decision was a consequence of "the Pope's call to reconciliation."

      The following day Guatemalan President Alvaro Arzu announced on Thursday that the Central American country will reestablish diplomatic relationships with Cuba as a response to Pope John Paul's request during his visit to the island-nation last week.

      The announcement will become effective next week, the Guatemalan Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed in a press release made public on Wednesday. "In response to the Pope's call to open the world to Cuba made during his recent visit to the Caribbean Island, Guatemala will reestablish the diplomatic ties," the release said. Guatemala broke diplomatic relationships with Cuba in 1961, after it was revealed that the Cuban government was supporting Marxist rebels in Guatemala.

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February 2, 1998 volume 9, no. 23          DAILY CATHOLIC

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