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Fidel Castro Sends Message of Condolence to Vatican and orders three days of mouring
On behalf of the Cuban government and people, President Fidel Castro sent a letter of condolence to the Vatican following the death of Pope John Paul II.

"The Cuban people, government and I express our most sincere condolences for the sorrowful demise of His Sanctity John Paul II," maintained Fidel Castro in his message to Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo, Camerlengo of the Holy See.

The Cuban leader asserted humankind would always remember the indefatigable work of the Supreme Pontiff, who defended peace, justice and solidarity among world nations.

On the Pope’s 1998 visit to Havana, Fidel Castro said "our nation will remember it as a momentous event in the history of relations between the Vatican and the Republic of Cuba."

After the news on the pope´s death was released, Cuban authorities declared a three-day mourning including the suspension of celebrations for the Young Communist League and the Jose Marti Organization anniversaries, and all sport and cultural festivities.

The decree by the Council of State regulates the national flag will remained half hoisted in public and military institutions from April 3 to 5.
On January 21-25, 1998, John Paul II was respectfully and joyfully received by the local population and government.

During the visit, he strongly condemned "the restrictive measures imposed from the outside," and termed them unjust and unacceptable.

And...

Fidel Castro Orders 3 Days of Mourning for Pope
By VOA News

Cuban President Fidel Castro has ordered three days of official state mourning for Pope John Paul, an unusual move for the Communist nation.

The Cuban leader also suspended planned Communist youth festivities as well as the finals of the national baseball league.

Church bells tolled for over 30 minutes late Saturday, after the pope's death was announced at the Vatican.

John Paul was the only pope ever to visit Cuba, in 1998, and he has been praised by Havana for what members of the Castro government saw as the church leader's opposition to "neo-liberal capitalism."
09 Apr 2005 by admin
The Havana Journal



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