THOUSANDS of Cubans, including President Raul Castro, attended a Mass conducted by Pope Francis in Havana’s Revolution Square yesterday.
He urged Cubans to look after one another, telling them that those who want to be great must serve others and not be served by them.
The pontiff arrived in Cuba on Saturday as part of a nine-day tour of Cuba and the United States.
During a welcoming speech at Jose Marti International Airport, Mr Castro spoke of the importance of solidarity and equality, stressing that socialism was the only way in which Cuba could guarantee independence, sovereignty and development.
The president thanked the Pope for leading efforts to normalise the diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana.
“Your Holiness, we appreciate and thank you for your support in conversations between the US and Cuba,” he said.
Mr Castro also spoke about global issues, highlighting the consequences that current crises have on Third World nations and minorities.
“As his Holiness says, humanity is called by necessity to change the way we live, produce and consume,” he added.
Pope Francis praised Cuba’s courage, and highlighted its importance in the world, saying that its “natural calling is being a meeting point which unites all peoples as Jose Marti dreamed.”
The church leader praised the new US-Cuba relationship, saying that it provides an example of reconciliation in today’s troubled world affairs.
“The world needs reconciliation amid this atmosphere of incremental steps towards a third world war,” he said, referring to ongoing conflicts around the globe.