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Raul Castro meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican

Featured Pope Francis (R) meets Cuban President Raul Castro during a private audience at the Vatican May 10, 2015. | Photo: Reuters  Pope Francis (R) meets Cuban President Raul Castro during a private audience at the Vatican May 10, 2015. | Photo: Reuters
THE VATICAN, Sunday May 10, 2015 - Cuban President Raul Castro on Sunday visited with Pope Francis, to thank him for his role in brokering a thaw in diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States.

On his surprise visit with Pope Francis Sunday, Cuban President Raul Castro said he was so impressed with the new Pontiff that he is considering a return to the Catholicism, despite remaining a communist.

"I said that if the pope continues to talk as he does, sooner or later I will start praying again and return to the Catholic Church, and I am not kidding,” said the Cuban leader. “I am a Communist. The Cuban Communist party did not allow it but it is being allowed now. It is a step forward."

Pope Francis has made a point of discussing poverty and inequality, going so far as to organize a congress concerning social justice at the Vatican with leaders from social justice movements from throughout the world.

Raul Castro made the visit to the Vatican for a private meeting between the two leaders during a stop-over after an official visit to Russia. The Cuban President requested the meeting in order to give his gratitude to the Pope for his role in brokering a thaw in diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States.

The two leaders also exchanged gifts, with President Castro giving Pope Francis a painting by a Cuban artist that alludes to the perilous journey that many African migrants take to reach Europe. Meanwhile the Pope gave Raul Castro a medallion honoring the patron saint of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis' hometown.

This content was originally published  on May 10 by teleSUR and can be accessed by clicking Here.

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