Pope Francis has arrived in Havana this afternoon and starts a historic 10-day visit to Cuba and the United States, according to reports.
Cuban President Raul Castro welcomed Pope Francis in a long speech at the airport. In his speech, Castro said the communist government has “founded an equitable society with social justice” in Cuba and he praised the pope’s critiques of the global economic system that has “globalized capital and turned money into its idol.”
Castro thanked the pope for facilitating negotiations that led to a detente between the United States and Cuba. Castro is also calling for the end of the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba, which he called “cruel, immoral and illegal,” and the return of the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay.
Castro praised his country’s socialist model for building a society “focused on human beings and the family” and said he’s “firmly determined to … build a just and virtuous society with high ethical and spiritual values.”
“As the honorable priest Félix Varela indicated, ‘We want the future generations to inherit from us the dignity of man, and to remember what it takes to recover it so that they fear losing it,'” said Castro, according to a translation of his remarks.