Pope Francis May Make a Stop In Cuba on Trip to U.S.


Washington. New York. Philadelphia. Havana?

The Vatican says Pope Francis may add another leg to his trip to the United States this September, visiting Cuba just months after he helped negotiate a diplomatic thaw between the two nations.

The possibility, which would add a dimension of international intrigue to an already highly anticipated trip, was first reported Thursday by The Wall Street Journal.

In response to reporters’ questions, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement, “The Holy Father has taken into consideration the idea of making a stop in Cuba” on his way to or from the United States this September.

“However, contacts with the Cuban authorities are still in too early a phase for it to be possible to regard this as a firm decision or an operative plan,” Lombardi continued.

Francis, the first pontiff to hail from Latin America, played a key role in the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States, earning praise from both President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro.

The Pope made personal pleas to Obama and Cuban leaders in private letters, writing that the two nations should try to reset their relations after decades of friction. The Vatican also hosted talks between U.S. and Cuban delegations in October, where they hashed out aspects of a new trade policy and discussed the release of jailed American contractor Alan Gross, who was freed as part of the detente between the two countries.

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SOURCE: Daniel Burke

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