No conditions for Pope Benedict on Cuba trip – Havana’s Vatican envoy

February 28, 2012

Cuba has not made any demands on Pope Benedict for him to condemn the 50-year-old U.S. embargo on the island when he visits next month but would welcome a new pronouncement if he decides to make it, Cuba’s ambassador to the Vatican has said.

In a wide-ranging interview with Reuters, Ambassador Eduardo Delgado Bermudez also said a possible meeting between Benedict and Fidel Castro was not on the programme “for now” but could not exclude it. He said Castro was in “excellent” overall health.

Delgado, 69, said Cuba saw the visit by Benedict as an opportunity to further deepen Church-state relations on the communist island, which have improved tremendously since the historic 1998 visit by Pope John Paul, who condemned the embargo several times.

“Frankly speaking, we have no ‘shopping list’ for this visit,” he said.

(Eduardo Delgado Bermudez, Cuba's ambassador to the Vatican, poses between Cuba's national flag and the Vatican city flag, at the Cuban embassy near the Vatican February 22, 2012. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi )

at the Cuban embassy, near the Vatican.

“We will receive him with respect and appreciation. That is our greatest desire, both of the government and the people of Cuba, and not just the Catholics,” he said in Spanish.

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