HAVANA TIMES — US President Barack Obama thanked pope Francisco today for his support for the “new beginning” in relations with Cuba, reported dpa news.
“Holy Father, thank you for your valuable support in our new beginning with the Cuban people, which gives us hope for better relations between our countries, greater cooperation in the hemisphere and a better life for the Cuban people,” Obama said at the welcoming ceremony for the Pope in the White House garden.
Francisco arrived Tuesday in the United States after spending four days in Cuba.
The two neighboring countries resumed diplomatic relations in July after more than 50 years of ideological confrontation with the pope as a mediator.
Obama stressed that the message of hope spoken by Jorge Bergoglio, “the first pope of the Americas,” has “inspired many people” throughout the world.
“Compassion means to welcome the foreigner with empathy and a truly open heart,” said Obama in relation to immigration, a campaign issue in the United States ahead of the presidential elections of 2016, and amid the crisis of Syrian refugees that exists in Europe.
Obama hosted a ceremony attended by 15,000 people on a sunny morning in Washington. He highlighted the efforts of the Catholic Church in the fight against world poverty and the “unique personal qualities” of Francis.
“In his humility, his simplicity, the gentleness of his words and spirit, we see a living example of the teachings of Jesus, a leader whose moral authority not only emanates from his words but his deeds,” praised.
Obama also stressed the Pope’s call to protect the environment. “We have a sacred obligation to protect our planet, the great gift that God made us.”
We support your appeal to all world leaders to help the communities most vulnerable to climate change and unite to preserve our precious world for future generations. “