The pope arrived in Havana on Tuesday, his second day in Cuba in efforts to reconcile relations and improve the role of the Catholic Church.
After landing at Havana’s International airport, he was greeted by a massive crowd that included controversial Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega.
The pope was scheduled to attend mass, and phone calls confirmed that the government is extremely selective with who gets to attend mass with him.
“There are some Catholics that have been picked by the government or approved by the government, but the majority of them are from the regime,” said Janisette Riverio in Miami.
The pope is also scheduled to have a formal meeting with Raul Castro. Many suspect that Fidel Castro will also be there along with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.
The question that lingered among the exile community about this meeting was whether or not the Castros will ask for forgiveness to the pope.
“I doubt it,” said John Suarez. “Unless they see some advantage in maintaining political power, I do not see them doing it.”
Members of the exile community see the pope as low key, but to the point.
“The challenge of this pope is to meet with the opposition as another view within Cuba’s society,” Suarez said.