Religion and world affairs were, not surprisingly, the two key talking points when Pope Francis visited Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro on Sunday.
They met at the 89-year-old retired president’s home and Cuban television showed gifts being exchanged in an encounter described by the Vatican as ‘very relaxed, fraternal and friendly’.
Francis later held talks with Cuba’s current president 84-year-old Raul Castro, an atheist like his brother.
On his first ever visit to the communist-run island, the 78-year-old pontiff also celebrated mass for tens of thousands of people in Havana although some dissidents were prevented from getting close to him.
And Francis reached out to Cuba’s youth in a special rally.
Latin America’s first pope has been widely praised for his behind-the-scenes-role in supporting negotiations that led to the restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States in July after 54 years.
He will fly from Cuba to Washington on Tuesday.