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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Pope, archbishop express condolences over Fidel Castro’s death

Quoting from the Book of Ecclesiastes and referencing judgment, the Archbishop of Miami, Thomas G. Wenski, issued a statement on the death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who died on 25th November.

‘Now he awaits the judgment of God who is merciful but also just,’ wrote Archbishop Wenski in a brief statement posted on the archdiocese’s website on 26th November. ‘His death provokes many emotions – both in and outside the island. Nevertheless, beyond all possible emotions, the passing of this figure should lead us to invoke the patroness of Cuba, the Virgin of Charity, asking for peace for Cuba and its people.’

Castro was 90 and ruled Cuba from 1959 – when his regime overthrew the government of Fulgencio Batista – until 2009 when he handed power over to his brother Raul. Pope Francis sent a telegram in Spanish to Cuba expressing condolences over the ‘sad news’ of ‘the death of your dear brother’ to Raul Castro, who currently rules the island.

He also expressed condolences to the government and to its people, and said he was offering prayers and entrusting the nation through intercession of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, the patron saint of Cuba.

Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist party in Cuba, said the formal public mourning period and homages to Fidel Castro would go through to 4th December. On 30th November the transport of his ashes to the province of Santiago will begin, concluding on 3rd December at the cemetery of St Ifigenia in Santiago de Cuba, where the Cuban national leader Jose Marti is buried.

Picture: Roses placed by members of Mexico’s communist party lay atop an image of late Cuban President Fidel Castro, outside the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City on Saturday 26th November 2016. Castro, who led a rebel army to improbable victory in Cuba, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the power of 10 US presidents during his half century rule, died in Cuba on Friday aged 90. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell).