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Fidel Castro for GTA San Andreas

Fidel Castro for GTA San Andreas



By Associated Press and Daily Mail Reporter Published: 04:38, 28 March 2012 | Updated: 20:00, 1 April 2012 e-mail var twitterVia = 'MailOnline'; DM.later('bundle', function(){ DM.has('shareLinkTop', 'shareLinks', { 'id': '2121398', 'title': 'Pope Benedict hits out at US for maintaining 53-year-old trade embargo after meeting with Fidel Castro in Cuba', 'url': 'http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2121398/Pope-Benedict-Cuba-set-historic-meeting-Fidel-Castro.html', 'eTwitterStatus': ' http://bit.ly/GWfbi6 via @' + twitterVia, 'articleChannelFollowButton': 'MailOnline', 'isChannel': false, 'hideEmail': true, 'placement': 'top', 'anchor': 'tl'}); }); 80 View comments DM.later('bundle', function(){ DMS.Article.init('top'); }); 80View commentsPope Benedict XVI has ended a visit to Cuba by criticizing the 50-year-old trade embargo imposed by the US.The Pope claimed the blockade, introduced after Cuba’s Communist revolution in 1959 and strengthened three years later, was an unfair burden on Cuba's people after a meeting with leader of the revolution and former president Fidel Castro.The Pontiff, who has now arrived back in Rome, made the comments at Havana airport alongside current president, Fidel's brother Raul, after celebrating Mass in front of huge crowds in Havana.He said Cubans should be ‘forging a society of wide horizons, renewed and reconciled’.He added: ‘No one should feel excluded from taking up this exciting search by the limitations of their basic freedoms, or excused from this by indolence or a lack of material resources - a situation which is worsened when restrictive economic measures, imposed from outside the country, unfairly burden its people.'Pope Benedict met with Castro for the first time after saying mass in Havana, in which he demanded greater freedom in the country and denounced Communist 'fanaticism'.The meeting comes towards the end of the Pope's three-day visit to the Communist-run island, during which the pontiff called for a bigger role for the Roman Catholic Church in Cuban society.       The former Cuban leader announced late yesterday that he would happily meet with Benedict, saying he was asking for just a 'few minutes of his very busy time' while the Pope is in Havana.Scroll down for videoHistoric meeting: Pope Benedict XVI meets Fidel Castro in HavanaIconic leaders: The meeting comes towards the end of the Pope's three-day visit to the Communist-run islandHistory in the making: Cuban leader Castro asked the Pope for a 'few minutes of his time' after he said mass in Havana, CubaAnimated meeting: Castro is said to have asked the Pope about changes in the liturgy under the second Vatican council and what his role wasDiscussions: Pope Benedict XVI and Castro were said to have talked about world issues, the change in the liturgy and about canonizing Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul IIAfter the mass, Benedict met for about half an hour with Castro, who is a Jesuit-educated altar boy-turned-revolutionary leader.His 1998 hosting of Pope John Paul II marked a turning point in the church's relations with Cuba. Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said he was watching the two men and their conversation seemed very animated.The Pope said Castro, who was raised a Catholic, asked about the reasons for the changes in the liturgy after the Second Vatican Council, about the role of the Pope and about the Pope's thinking about the larger philosophical questions weighing on the minds of people today.For the meeting, Castro brought his wife Dalia and two of his sons.The former Cuban ruler, who in 2006 handed the reigns of power to his younger brother, Raul Castro, also suggested to Benedict that two of the church’s most prominent figures of the past half century - Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul II - should be canonized. Father Lombardi told the Catholic News Service: 'In the end, Commandante Fidel asked the Pope to send him a few books dealing with the questions he had.'He also revealed that Castro had told Pope Benedict he had followed his entire visit on television, and Castro had remarked they were about the same age, to which the Pope replied: 'Yes, I'm old, but I can still carry out my duties.'The Pope will celebrate his 85th birthday in April, and Castro will turn 86 in August.Final duties: Pope Benedict XVI walks on a stage at Revolution Square in front of the 300,000-strong crowd to celebrate mass as he wraps up his trip which ended with a meeting with Castro After mass: Pope Benedict XVI and Cuba's President Raul Castro talk at Revolution Square after the Pope urged Cubans to search for 'authentic freedom' as their country changes during serviceA man receives communion from Pope Benedict XVI: Most of Cuba's population are Catholic but very few are practicing As they met, Cuban authorities began to release the more than 200 dissidents arrested or detained in the days leading up to and during the pope’s three-day visit to the Communist island, according to the online forum, hablalosinmiedo.com, which posts dispatches from Cuban opposition groups.The events followed an unusually politicized homily from Benedict which was a not-so-subtle jab at Cuba's leadership before the vast crowd.But he also used plain language to urge an end to Cuba's isolation, a reference to the 50-year U.S. economic embargo and the inability of 11 American presidents and brothers Fidel and Raul Castro to forge peace.'Cuba and the world need change, but this will occur only if each one is in a position to seek the truth and chooses the way of love, sowing reconciliation and fraternity,' he said.With the country's leadership listening from front-row seats, Benedict issued his strongest denunciation of religious intolerance yet in Cuba, referring to the Biblical account of how people persecuted by the Babylonian king 'preferred to face death by fire rather than betray their conscience and their faith'.Arrival: The Popemobile makes its way through Revolution Square in Havana so he can deliver mass to the thousand of Cuban people who have gatheredWorship: Pope Benedict XVI waves as Cuba's President Raul Castro, second right front, walks off the stage after a mass at Revolution Square in Havana today Touchdown: The Pope arrives back at Ciampino Airport in Rome He said people find freedom when they seek the truth that Christianity offers. Pope John Paul II met Fidel Castro during a mass celebrated in Havana's Revolution Square in 1998. The meeting marked a turning point in the church's relations with Cuba, which was an atheist state for most of Castro's ruling. Castro was born on a sugar plantation in eastern Cuba, the son of a Spanish immigrant landholder and a household servant. He was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church when he was eight, although later gave up his faith in Christianity, becoming an atheist.Being baptized enabled Fidel to begin attending the La Salle boarding school in Santiago, but here he often got into trouble with the school authorities for misbehavior, and so he was instead sent to the privately-funded, Jesuit-run Dolores School in Santiago.Although he would agree with Lenin on separation of church and state, Castro is much more sympathetic to religion. He said in a 1998 speech: 'I feel a great respect for all religions. The Christian religion was the one I best knew, for I spent 12 years - as some of you probably did too - as a boarding student in religious Catholic schools ... for which I'm even glad today, because it taught me discipline, stoicism, spirit of sacrifice, many positive things that later helped me throughout my life.'In 1962, his government seized and shut down more than 400 Catholic schools, charging that they spread dangerous beliefs among the people. In 1991 however, the Communist Party lifted its prohibition against religious believers seeking membership, and a year later the constitution was amended to characterize the state as secular instead of atheist. 'On the other hand there are those who wrongly interpret this search for the truth, leading them to irrationality and fanaticism. 'They close themselves up in "their truth" and try to impose it on others,' he said from the altar in the shadow of the image of Cuba's revolution hero Ernesto Che Guevara. While he did not mention the government by name, the comments were an unmistakable criticism of the Cuban reality, said the Rev Joseph Fessio, a former student of Benedict. The pontiff didn't cite the government by name, but later in his homily urged Cuban authorities to let the church more freely preach its message and educate its young in the faith in schools and universities — something that has been forbidden since the Castros came to power a half-century ago.'It must be said with joy that in Cuba, steps have been taken to enable the church to carry out her essential mission of expressing her faith openly and publicly,' he said. 'Nonetheless this must continue forward for the good of Cuban society.'The Vatican had already said Benedict was available, so the confirmation from Castro was all that was needed to seal the appointment and end weeks of speculation about whether the longtime dictator would repeat the meeting he held with Pope John Paul II during his historic 1998 visit.Earlier that day, the Pontiff had met Fidel’s brother, now the erstwhile leader of Cuba, Raul.'I will happily greet His Excellency Pope Benedict XVI as I did John Paul II, a man for whom contact with children and the humble raised feelings of affection,' Castro wrote. 'That's why I decided to ask for a few minutes of his very busy time when I heard from the mouth of our foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez, that he would be agreeable.'The audience and Benedict's Mass in Revolution Plaza come 14 years after John Paul preached on the same spot before hundreds of thousands of people, Fidel among them. The Pope, 84, led an open-air Mass for a crowd estimated by the Vatican at some 300,000 people in Havana’s iconic Revolution Square, which is home to a permanent image of revolutionary Che Guevara.John Paul's shadow has loomed large over the trip, especially his remarks upon arrival at Havana's airport in 1998 saying Cuba should 'open itself up to the world, and may the world open itself up to Cuba'.Benedict took that famous exhortation for openness one step further Wednesday by saying: 'Cuba and the world need change.'The Pope has been welcomed to Cuba by President Raul Castro, Fidel's brother, and the pair held a 55-minute closed-door meeting on Tuesday, the pontiff's second day on the island. Brief video feeds showed President Castro greeting Benedict at the Presidential Palace and then later seeing him off.  Days after dismissing the Marxist ideology on which the Cuban system is based, Benedict continued to gently press themes highly sensitive to Cuban government in his prayer and short speech at the sanctuary of the Virgin of Charity of Cobre near the eastern city of Santiago. Greeting the crowds: Pope Benedict XVI met Cuban President Raul Castro before a mass at Revolution Palace in Havana, Cuba, and will now meet longtime dictator Fidel CastroBrothers: Fidel Castro (left) pictured with his brother Raul at a Communist Party Congress conference in 2011 Meeting of minds: Pope Benedict (left) and President Raul Castro (right) enjoyed an exchange of ideas amid the stained glass of the Revolution PalacePolitical: The Pope appealed for political change after five decades of one-party rule shortly before a 55-minute closed-door meeting with President Raul Castro History lesson: President Raul met with the Pope at the Revolution Palace in HavanaHowever, the island's communist leaders quickly rejected the Roman Catholic leader's appeal for political change after five decades of one-party rule.'I have entrusted to the Mother of God the future of your country, advancing along the ways of renewal and hope, for the greater good of all Cubans,' the Pope said.'I have also prayed to the Virgin for the needs of those who suffer, of those who are deprived of freedom, those who are separated from their loved ones or who are undergoing times of difficulty.'It wasn't long before a top official back in Havana responded.'In Cuba, there will not be political reform,' said Marino Murillo, Cuba's economic czar and a vice president. A warm welcome: The Pope and the Cuban leader share a cheerful momentDays after dismissing the Marxist ideology on which the Cuban system is based, Benedict continued to gently press themes highly sensitive to Cuban government in his prayer and short speech The Pope has kept his language lofty, his criticism vague and open to interpretation, but Mr Murillo's comments left no room for doubt, and they were quickly picked up by pro-government blogs and on Twitter accounts.Raul Castro has said that opening up Cuba's political system would inevitably spell doom for its socialist project since any alternative party would be dominated by enemies across the Florida Straits and beyond.Alfredo Mesa, a Cuban-American National Foundation board member whose trip to Cuba was organized by the Miami Archdiocese, said the government's strong reaction would reinforce the pope's message and the need for change.'I'd rather have them say this now than tomorrow,' Mr Mesa said.During a quiet moment at the shrine of the Virgin of Charity, Benedict also prayed for more Cubans to embrace the faith in a country that is the least Catholic in Latin America. While most Cubans are nominally Catholic, fewer than 10 per cent practice the faith. Local flavor: The Pope visited the 'Virgen de la Caridad del Combre', an important local site The pontiff knelt before the crowned, wooden statue, which stood on a covered table shrouded in blue and white cloth. Helped by two bishops, the 84-year-old pontiff rose and approached the icon, lit a candle and stood in prayer as a choir sang hymns.He called on all Cubans 'to work for justice, to be servants of charity and to persevere in the midst of trials.'The Pope pointedly referred to the Virgin by her popular name, La Mambisa, in a gesture to the many non-Catholics on the island who nonetheless venerate the statue as an Afro-Cuban deity. Mambisa is the word for the Cuban fighters who won independence from Spain at the turn of the last century.The pontiff knelt before the crowned, wooden statue, which stood on a covered table shrouded in blue and white clothIn subtle ways, the pope has acknowledged a lack of faith in the island nation, and tried to make his trip appealing to potential believers. The visit is timed to the 400th anniversary of the appearance of the statue of the Virgin to two fishermen and an African slave in Cuba's Bay of Hipe.Dunia Felipillo, 45, said she was proud to see the pope praying before the Virgin of Charity, even though she herself was not Catholic.'We all ask favors of la Cachita,' she said, using the Cuban slang for the Virgin, as she watched the ceremony on TV from the lobby of a Santiago hotel.Benedict's frequent references to the Virgin also highlighted what the church shares with Cuba's nonreligious population, in contrast to his views that would spark more opposition, such as the church's position on divorce and abortion and his strong comments against Marxism.Benedict has emphasized devotion to Mary throughout his Latin America trip, also making frequent reference to Our Lady of Guadalupe earlier in Mexico.But he has also warned the faithful in the past not to overdo it and forget that Christianity is about Christ.Meanwhile, dissidents on the island say they still don't know the man who yelled 'Down with the Revolution! Down with the dictatorship!' before the Pope's Mass on Monday in Santiago.Video of the incident showed him being slapped by another man wearing the uniform of a first-aid worker before security agents separated them.Benedict seemed to walk with renewed vigor Tuesday as he greeted officials and clergy when his plane arrived in Havana. The previous evening, his spokesman acknowledged that the Pope was fatigued from days of traveling in Mexico.En route: The trip is a part of a region-wide tour of several Latin American countries. His last stop was in MexicoSightseeing: During his time in Cuba, the Pope visited a number of sanctuaries revered by both faithful and nominal members of the Cuban Catholic communityUnscripted moment: A gust of wind caught the Pope's cape during his visit to the Virgin of Charity of CobreHe was greeted on the tarmac by clergy, government officials and children who played music, danced and offered him flowers.Ana Blanco, a 47-year-old Havana resident complained about people being told to attend a papal Mass on Wednesday in Havana, saying the pressure seemed odd in a country that in her early years taught her religion was wrong.'Now there's this visit by the pope, and I don't agree with giving it so much importance or making anyone go to the Mass or other activities,' the office worker said. 'Before it was bad, now it's good. That creates confusion.' Share what you think The comments below have not been moderated. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. We are no longer accepting comments on this article.Published by Associated Newspapers LtdPart of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group





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