March 28, 2012. (Romereports.com)
The meeting between John Paul II and Fidel Castro back in 1998 was indeed historic. But few know that it wasn't their first meeting.
Two years before, John Paul II received Castro at the Vatican, where they held a private audience. It was actually the first time a Cuban president met with a Pope.
It was 1996, and Fidel Castro was visiting Rome to attend a conference
at Rome's United Nations branch: The Food and Agriculture Organization.
During that visit, both agreed to a meeting, which lasted about 30
minutes. Their conversation, reportedly strengthened the relationship
and trust between both states. And, even though it was short, it paved
the way for John Paul II's visit, two years later.
Now, under the rule of Raul Castro, it's Benedict XVI who hopes to motivate and reaffirm the faith of Cuban Catholics.