Pope meets Fidel in Havana

Pope Benedict has met with Cuban revolutionary icon Fidel Castro after saying mass in Havana before addressing a 600,000-strong crowd.

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Pope criticises US trade embargo on Cuba

Pope Benedict XVI has criticised the trade embargo imposed by the US on Cuba Credit: REUTERS/Max Rossi

Pope Benedict XVI criticised the 50-year-old US trade embargo on Cuba as he wrapped up a three-day visit to the island, urging reconciliation and greater freedoms.

He said: "May no one feel excluded ... from taking up this exciting search for his or her basic freedoms, or excused from this by indolence or lack of material resources, a situation which is worsened when restrictive economic measures, imposed from outside the country, unfairly burden its people."


Pope calls for greater religious freedom in Cuba

The Pope addressed crowds in

The Pope did not cite the government by name, but in his address in Havana, he urged Cuban authorities to let the church more freely preach its message and educate its young in the faith in schools and universities.

600,000 people turned out to see the Pope in Havana. Credit: Press Association

The remarks came before Benedict's eagerly anticipated meeting with Fidel Castro.

Crowds at Revolution Square in Havana ahead of the Pope's mass. Credit: Press Association

Pope speaks to 600,000-strong crowd in Havana

In his remarks to the 600,000-strong crowd, the pope issued his strongest denunciation of religious intolerance yet in Cuba.

Crowds great the Pope in Havana, Cuba. Credit: Press Association

He referred to the biblical account of how people persecuted by the Babylonian king "preferred to face death by fire rather than betray their conscience and their faith."

He said people find freedom when they seek the truth that Christianity offers.

Pope meets Fidel Castro

Pope Benedict has met with Cuban revolutionary icon Fidel Castro after saying mass in Havana, the Vatican has said.

The meeting comes towards the close of the pope's three-day visit to the Communist-run island, during which the pontiff has called for greater freedoms, and a bigger role for the Roman Catholic Church in Cuban society.


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