Pope Benedict XVI’s plane was met by a cheering crowd of people as it touched down in for his first trip to Mexico – the country with the largest number of Spanish-speaking Roman Catholics.
At the start of his three-day visit, he was greeted by Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
The Pontiff has promised to ‘unmask the evil’ of drug trafficking in a nation where 50,000 people have died in the last three years as authorities fight the cartels.
“We know a lot about the beauty of Mexico, but also of this huge problem of drug trafficking and violence,” said Benedict.
On Monday, Pope Benedict will visit Cuba, and he also had strong words about communism: “Today it is evident that Marxist ideology, in the way that it was conceived, no longer responds to reality. We can no longer build a society in this way. New models must be found, with patience and in a constructive way.”
Not everyone is happy about the Pope’s visit. Protesters, including gay and lesbian groups, took to the streets of Mexico City, criticising the human rights record of the Catholic Church.
Mexico allows same-sex marriages and abortions on demand.