for The New York Times on March 29, 2012
Pope Benedict XIV. and Fidel Castro
HAVANA — In the heart of Revolution Square in Cuba, with towering images of guerrilla heroes staring back at him, Pope Benedict XVI called Wednesday for “authentic freedom” in one of the world’s most authoritarian states.
And so Benedict, a critic of Marxism in general and totalitarian regimes in particular, walked the tightrope that spans the old and new Cuba, with a visit that lasted just over 48 hours and that harked back to the first papal trip here by his predecessor 14 years ago.
In his speeches and before boarding his plane for Rome, the pope pushed for more liberties, sometimes obliquely, while presenting the Roman Catholic Church as being in solidarity with the Cuban people. At the same time, he sought to assure his hosts that he was not explicitly taking sides in one of the most politically complex countries he has visited in his seven years as pope.
Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/world/americas/pope-benedict-calls-for-authentic-freedom-in-cuba.html?_r=2