Pope arrives in Cuba calling for freedom, better U.S.-Cuba relations

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September 19, 2015

People cheer during the arrival ceremony for Pope Francis at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana Sept. 19. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-CUBA-ARRIVE Sept. 19, 2015.

People cheer during the arrival ceremony for Pope Francis at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana Sept. 19. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

HAVANA (CNS) — Pope Francis began his visit to Cuba praying for greater freedom for the island’s people and calling on U.S. and Cuban politicians to continue moving toward fully normal and neighborly relations.

Meeting President Raul Castro and speaking before a small crowd at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport Sept. 19, Pope Francis said the Cuban-U.S. rapprochement announced in December is “an event which fills us with hope” after decades of tensions and a 55-year-old economic embargo against Cuba.

The new U.S.-Cuban relationship, which leaders of both countries said the pope had a role in facilitating, are “a sign of the victory of the culture of encounter and dialogue,” Pope Francis said.

Read more in The Visitor…