President of Cuba with Pope Francis. Photo: Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez

Pope Francis Grants Audience to Cuba’s Communist President: They Talked about the Island’s “Blockade” 

Upon the arrival of the President of Cuba in Vatican City, a group of Cubans demonstrated peacefully against whom they consider a communist dictator.

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Valentina di Giorgio

(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 06.20.2023).- On Monday morning, June 19, Pope Francis received in audience the President of Cuba, Mr Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez. The audience was held in Paul VI Hall. The Communist President wrote on Twitter: A “very pleasant reunion today with His Holiness Pope Francis, to whom I transmitted the profound affection of the Cuban people and wishes for his full recovery. It was a frank conversation. We confirmed broad agreements on pressing topics of the international agenda for humanity.” And, in a second Tweet, the President mentioned the topics addressed. “We addressed the present Cuban reality, in particular, the severe impact on our people of the tightened economic blockade. I thanked him for his expressions of closeness and encouragement in favour of our country. We confirmed our willingness to continue strengthening relations between the Holy See and Cuba.”

After the audience with the Pope, the Cuban President met with the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who was accompanied by Monsignor Daniel Pacho, Under-Secretary for the Multilateral Sector of the Section for Relations with States and International Organizations. During the conversations with the State Secretariat, emphasis was placed on the importance of the diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Cuba, recalling Saint John Paul II’s historic visit in 1998, whose 25th anniversary is being observed. Then they reflected on the country’s situation and on the contribution of the Church, especially in the realm of charity. In addition, they touched upon some international topics of mutual interest and stressed the importance of maintaining the commitment to promote always the common good. 

For its part, the Cuban Government’s Communication Office issued a note stating: 

The President of the Republic of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez made a visit today to the Holy See, where he was received in private audience by Pope Francis. The exchange enabled the verification of the positive state of the bilateral relations. Addressed as well were topics of interest of the international agenda. 

The Cuban side ratified its willingness to continue enhancing the ties between both States, acknowledging at the same time the active role of the Supreme Pontiff in the search for solutions to the grave problems affecting humanity today, as well as agreement on topics such as the defense of international peace, nuclear disarmament, protection of the environment, the fostering of solidarity and the struggle against social exclusion, inequality and poverty. 

The Cuban President also held a meeting with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin. 

On the Cuban President’s arrival in Vatican City, a group of Cubans protested peacefully against him whom they consider a Communist dictator. The protest took place in the Italian section of the Avenue that leads to the Vatican. 

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