Vatican: Pope’s Cuba trip should help democracy effort
The Vatican’s No. 2 has dismissed suggestions that Cuba’s communist government could exploit Pope Benedict XVI’S upcoming trip as a propaganda tool, saying the visit should help promote democracy on the island.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s secretary of state, said that he expects an outpouring of support for the pope because he is the head of the Catholic Church, and that the visit will only make things better for the Cuban church.
“I don’t believe the visit will be exploited by the government,” Cardinal Bertone told the Turin daily La Stampa in an interview published Thursday. “In fact, I think the government and Cuban people will do their utmost to welcome the pope and show him the esteem and trust that the leader of the Catholic Church deserves.”
Benedict, 84, leaves Friday for a six-day trip that will take him first to Mexico, then to Cuba on Monday.
It is Benedict’s first trip to Spanish-speaking Latin America, and Pope John Paul II’S shadow will be looming large, given his five visits to Mexico, which claimed the Polish pope as its own, and his historic 1998 trip to Cuba.