Pope Francis Praises U.S.-Cuba Detente As Model For World

Cuba's President Raul Castro waves as he escorts Pope Francis at the airport in Havana, Cuba, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. Pope Francis began his 10-day trip to Cuba and the United States, embarking on his first trip to the onetime Cold War foes after helping to nudge forward their historic rapprochement. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

HAVANA (AP) — Pope Francis hailed detente between the United States and Cuba as a model of reconciliation for the world, urging Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro to persevere in building normal ties as the pontiff launched a 10-day tour of the former Cold War foes Saturday.

Francis’ surprisingly direct call for progress toward normalization came after weeks of Vatican assurances that he would not explicitly address politics during his pastoral trip to Cuba and the U.S. Francis served as mediator and guarantor of 18 months of secret negotiations that led to the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries this year.

“For some months now, we have witnessed an event which fills us with hope: the process of normalizing relations between two peoples following years of estrangement,” Francis said in a speech on the tarmac of Jose Marti International Airport.

“I urge political leaders to persevere on this path and to develop all its potentialities as a proof of the high service which they are called to carry out on behalf of the peace and well-being of their peoples, of all America, and as an example of reconciliation for the entire world.”

Francis extended his greetings to Raul’s brother Fidel, with whom Francis is expected to meet as early as Sunday. He also said he wanted his greeting “to embrace especially all those who, for various reasons, I will not be able to meet” — a possible nod to political dissidents as well as ordinary Cubans across the island.

WNCT-TV 9 On Your Side provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s