After a 12 hour flight, Pope Francis arrived to Havana's international airport. The first thing the he noticed was the strong wind, that blew away his papal hat.
He was first welcomed on the red carpet by Cuban leader, Raul Castro. Just moments later by a group of local children, dressed in traditional local attire.
Raul Castro delivered his speech first. He thanked the Pope for highlighting the need to care for the environment. Then, the focus turned to the newly re-established ties between the U.S and Cuba.
Castro thanked the Pope for being a mediator, but he also laid out other thorny issues.
"The [U.S] blockade which leads to human damage and limits to the Cuban family is cruel, immoral and illegal. It needs to stop. The territory used by Guantanamo Naval Base, should be given back to Cuba. This and other issues need to be sorted out.”
The Pope then called on Castro and other political leaders to use the newly re-established diplomatic ties as a symbol of how dialogue can indeed give fruit and lead to concrete results.
"I urge political leaders to persevere on this path and to develop all its potentialities as a proof of the high service which they are called to carry out on behalf of the peace and well-being of their peoples, of all America, and as an example of reconciliation for the entire world.”
Calling on the Patroness of Cuba, Our Lady of Charity, the Pope asked Cuba to travel the paths of justice, peace, liberty and reconciliation, especially amid all the turmoil and tension lived around the globe.
"The world needs reconciliation, as it experiences an atmosphere of a third world war that's happening in stages.”
This year Cuba and the Holy See celebrate 80 years since establishing uninterrupted diplomatic relations.
In his speech, the Pope said his words were for all Cubans, including those who are no longer living on the island.