March 15, 2012. (Romereports.com)
All this excitement is over this three year old Cuban crocodile. It's only about 40 centimeters long, but it's already having a huge impact. It was captured illegally in its native Cuba, now it's getting ready to go back home, just as the Pope himself is getting ready to visit the island.Eduardo Delgado Bermudez
Cuba's Ambassador to the Holy See
“Right now, the crocodile is an illegal immigrant here in Italy, but soon it will go back to its country of origin, to Cuba.”
(Jan 11, 2012)
The small crocodile first made international headlines back in January, when it was introduced so to speak, to the Pope by local zoo officials.
It was kept here at the zoo after being rescued. The reptile was smuggled into the country by an Italian who visited Cuba and took the reptile. It was smuggled inside a sock in a suitcase. But, eventually police confiscated the crocodile in Northern Italy before sending it to Rome's Zoo for recovery. Msgr. Giovanni Angelo Becciu
Vatican's Deputy Secretary of State "It's a symbol of friendship, a symbol of love for nature and also of respect.”
The Vatican's former ambassador to Cuba, Monsignor Giovanni Angelo Becciu, is the second in command at the Vatican's Secretary of State. He quickly petted the reptile, now that it's strong and healthy. In fact, zoo employees say, the reptile has automatically turned into a type of ambassador for endangered species, especially when it comes to raising awareness. The event of course, also highlights the Pope's coming trip to Cuba. Msgr. Giovanni Angelo Becciu
Vatican's Deputy Secretary of State
“The trip will give Mexico and Cuba the opportunity to directly hear the Pope's message. It will be a message of reconciliation, and it will be an effort for the progress of the Church.”
Eduardo Delgado Bermudez
Cuba's Ambassador to the Holy See“We're working really hard in Cuba, especially in La Habana and Santiago de Cuba, so that everything is ready. We're also finishing the details here in Rome.”
Before the Pope's trip to Cuba, a contest will be held among Italian schoolchildren, to pick the crocodile's name.