Cuban President Greets the New Pope

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban President Raul Castro on Wednesday congratulated Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, elected the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church and head of state of the Vatican City, reported the local media.

“On the occasion of his election as Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, I am pleased to convey to Your Holiness my cordial greetings and best wishes for his pontificate on behalf of the government and people of Cuba,” he was quoted in a brief message.

Franciso I, the name chosen by the spiritual leader, accompanied John Paul II during his visit to the island in 1998, an event that allowed him to write the book Dialogues Between John Paul II and Fidel Castro.

This is the first non-European Pope and Jesuit in history, though he has been criticized for his passivity during the crimes committed by the dictatorship in Argentina, as well as for his opposition to the Law of Marriage between people of the same sex, adopted in that country in 2010.

Former President Nestor Kirchner and current President Cristina Fernandez have been known to be among his main critics, said the Cafe Fuerte website.

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