Castro on Pope’s Planned Visit to Cuba

HAVANA TIMES, Dec 19 — Cuban President Raul Castro welcomed the upcoming visit to the island by the supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church, in a meeting yesterday with a delegation from the Vatican.

“Benedict XVI will be greeted with affection and respect by everyone,” Castro told Alberto Gasbarri, the individual responsible for international travel arrangements for the pope.

During the meeting, both parties described the state of relations between Cuba and the Holy See as “excellent.” They also appeared satisfied with progress in preparations for the visit, according to a statement issued by the main television news program on the island.