March 28, 2012. (Romereports.com)
After weeks of speculation, Cuba's former president, Fidel Castro, has officially said he will indeed meet with Benedict XVI. The statement was published Tuesday in Cuba's government run newspaper. At the end of an opinion piece, Castro says “I will happily greet His Excellency, Pope Benedict XVI as I did John Paul II, a man for whom contact with children and the humble generated feelings of affection.”
The former president, then went on to say, “That is why I decided to ask for a few minutes of his very busy schedule, after hearing from the mouth of our foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez that he would be agreeable.”
The brief meeting will reportedly take place on Wednesday, before the Pope celebrates Mass in Havana's Revolution Plaza. It will be the Pope's last day in Cuba. Just a few hours later, he'll be on his way back to Rome, where he'll arrive Thursday morning.