Raul Castro Visits Pope Francis on Sunday

popeHAVANA TIMES (dpa) — Pope Francis will receive the President of Cuba, Raul Castro, on Sunday for a “strictly private” meeting at the Vatican, confirmed today the Holy See.

The meeting will take place on Sunday morning, the Vatican said in a brief statement. Castro will travel to Rome presumably from Moscow, where he will participate on Saturday in the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

The Cuban leader, who was in Algeria on Monday as part of an official visit, arrived in Russia on Tuesday. Castro has been specially invited by Russian President Vladimir Putin to the celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany.

The pope recently announced that he will visit Cuba in September before his scheduled trip to the United States, at a date yet to be specified. Jorge Bergoglio will be the third pope to visit the socialist island after John Paul II in 1998 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.

Pope Francis played a central role last year in the historic rapprochement between the US and Cuba. The Vatican mediated the 18 months of secret negotiations leading to the announcement of the political thaw between Washington and Havana on December 17.

Raul Castro and US President Barack Obama both thanked the Argentine pontiff for the mediation effort. The governments of Cuba and the United States are currently negotiating the reopening of embassies in their respective capitals.

4 thoughts on “Raul Castro Visits Pope Francis on Sunday

  • Prayer has failed to date to move any mountains in Cuba or change any of the Castro family regime policies. As an Argentinian the Pope should understand Latin America, the question is whether like one of his predecessors he understands communism! Can he, like that predecessor did in Poland, help to topple the Castro family communist regime in Cuba?

  • Putin is clearly short of friends when inviting Raul Castro Ruz as a special guest to the 70th anniversary celebrations of the end of the Second World War. Cuba did what? Perhaps Putin could also make it a celebration of his country initiating the Soviet Empire by occupying and controlling some thirteen countries in Europe. I imagine that Raul will take son Alejandro with him to get an up-date from Putin as a former KGB Colonel upon operating the CDR and restricting any opportunities for freedom of the Cuban people.

  • As a Christian who believes in miracles, this could be extraordinary. The Pope seems like an incredible man who understands Latin America better than most. Prayers can move mountains!

  • Methinks that “La china” Raúl is sensing the end is near. After all, his wife and his “friend” have passed away and his brother wears diapers and uses a stoma bag. It’s as good a time as any to seek absolution for the tyranny he has wrought. Who better than the Pope to ask the make things right.

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