“I thanked the Pope for his contribution to broker the thaw between Cuba and the United States”. This is what was stated by President Raul Castro after the private audience with Pope Francesco which lasted approximately 50 minutes. The Cuban leader presented to the Pope the sentiments of his people in the wake of preparations and his forthcoming visit to the island in September. “The President offered the Pope,” said the Director of the Vatican Press Office, Father Lombardi – a valuable Commemorative Medal of the Cathedral of Havana and a painting of contemporary art, representing a large cross made from wrecks of boats piled on top of each other, and in the forefront there is a magrant praying “.
The Bishop of Rome countered with the Apostolic exhortation Evangeli Gaudium and a large medallion representing St Martin in the act of covering the poor with his coat. “With this mantle he covers the poor – the Pope explained-. It’s an intuition of what we need to do: we need to cover the misery of the people and then promote people. I really like giving this, because it is a sign of good will “. The successor of Peter, then, handing the other gift to Castro told him: “This is the text where there are some of those statements that you don’t like”, with “some religious and social” part. The Cuban President also met Matteo Renzi.
At the end of the meeting he said again: “I was very impressed by the wisdom and modesty of the Pope. I have read all his speeches and Renzi I said: ‘ if the Pope continues like this I will convert back to the Catholic Church again ‘. I belong to the Communist Party which has never admitted believers “Even though they have made strides now, he continued. “He’s a Jesuit – pointed out – and I am too in some way , because I studied with the Jesuits. When the Pope comes to Cuba in September, Iìll promise to go to all the masses and even now I’m reading all His posts “.
Then the meeting and press conference with Renzi. More political issues and in the press conference a hint to human rights before returning to the distension and concludes: “We should never have had to be included in the list of terrorist countries. Maybe this coming 28th May the Senate of the United States will remove us from this famous list “. “Today we can touch with our bare hands that much is changing,” said Renzi during the meeting with the press following the face-to-face with Renzi. “The story follows its own course and we want to be and we must be the protagonists. Now we can write a new page and I am convinced that we can do much together. ” Castro chose conciliatory words: “relations between Italy and Cuba are perfect”. Comment then on facebook in the evening saying: “it’s a beautiful page in history.”
Translation provided by Marina Stronati