It was a windy welcome for Pope Francis as he arrived in Ecuador with the breeze blowing off his cap as he stepped off the plane. But the 78-year-old took it in his stride. Francis is starting a seven-day tour of Latin America which will also take in Bolivia and Paraguay.
He was welcomed by Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa on this his second visit to the region since becoming pontiff in 2013.
The message he brings this time is one of equality, and defending the poor. He has also put the environment at the forefront of his thinking and will raise the subject of protecting the plant during his visit.
Although Ecuador has been beset by protests against tax changes and alleged state authoritarianism, demonstraters have called a moratorium during the pope’s visit.
Tens of thousands of people lined the streets as the Pope’s motorcade drove through the capital Quito.
Later today Francis will fly soith to the coastal city of Guayaquil to deliver a mass before heading back to Quito to meet Correa. On Tuesday he is to deliver a mass at Quito’s Bicentenario Park, where some are already camped out.
Then on Wednesday Francis moves onto Bolivia where he’s expected to defend the rights of indigenous people and he will also visit the notoriously violent Palmasola prison.