April 13, 2015
PANAMA CITY (CNS) — An hourlong meeting April 11 between U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro marked the first such personal encounter between the leaders of the two neighboring countries since 1958.
The session held during the Summit on the Americas, in which Cuba participated for the first time, was the most visible step toward ending a half century of strained relations dating back to the Cuban revolution.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, extended Pope Francis’ greetings to the gathering. His presence at the summit served as a reminder of the pope’s hand in encouraging Obama and Castro to move toward restoring diplomatic relations and ending the decades-long U.S. embargo of the nation that sits 90 miles off the tip of Key West, Florida.