Mass officiated by Pope Francis in the Sanctuary of El Cobre Photo: Ricardo López Hevia

According to the Vatican In­si­der, Pope Francis - asked to comment on the U.S. blockade of Cuba - stated that the lifting of the blockade is part of negotiations underway directed toward the normalization of relations, while speaking to journalists during his flight from Santiago de Cuba to Washington.
“Both presidents have spoken; I hope that an agreement which satisfies both parties is reached,” added the Pontiff while commenting that he would not “specifically” address the issue before Congress, but speak in general about the agreements established to date as a sign of progress toward peaceful coexistence.

Photo: Ricardo López Hevia

Regarding his reasons for visiting the island, he explained, “It was slightly by chance,” but following the December 17 announcements and “after a process of almost a year…I said: Let’s pass by Cuba en route to the United States.”
Likewise, he gave details of his meeting with the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, during which they spoke about “the Jesuit priests he knew: As a present, I brought him a book and CD of Father Llorente which he will no doubt appreciate. In regards to the past, we only talked about the Jesuit college and the efforts undertaken there. It was an informal encounter,