April, 6. 2012. (Romereports.com)
This year is the first time the country of Cuba is celebrating Good Friday in more than 40 years. It was the result of a request that Benedict XVI made to Cuba's president Raul Castro during his trip to the island. A few days later, the country's government formally accepted the pope's proposal and declared Good Friday as a national holiday.
At the airport of Santiago de Cuba, Raul Castro said to the pope that he would do everything possible to make sure it was approved by the Council of Ministers.
The Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, called it “a very positive sign” for the country.
On Good Friday, the Archbishop of Havana, Cardinal Jaime Ortega will make a televised announcement on the decision. He also made a similar speech on a Cuban television channel before the pope's trip.
Fourteen years ago, after the visit of John Paul II, Fidel Castro reestablished the celebration of Christmas.