Front Page







World Summary

On Air


Talking Point


Low Graphics


Site Map

Monday, January 26, 1998 Published at 12:20 GMT

World: Monitoring

Pope ends Cuba visit: Excerpts from speeches
image: [ Pope John Paul II and President Fidel Castro ]
Pope John Paul II and President Fidel Castro

Pope gives farewell address, says no nation can live in isolation

Excerpts from the farewell address by Pope John Paul II, ending his official visit to Cuba, at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, broadcast live by Cuban TV on 25th January

Mr President, Mr Cardinal and fellow bishops; most excellent authorities, dear Cuban brothers and sisters...

I am confident that each individual will continue to protect and promote the most genuine values of the Cuban soul.

Faithful to their forefathers' heritage, the Cuban people have demonstrated, despite difficulties, their confidence in God, their Christian faith, their ties with the Church, their love for culture and for patriotic traditions, and their calling for justice and freedom.

During this process, all the Cuban people are called to contribute to the common good in an atmosphere of mutual respect and with a deep sense of solidarity.

Nowadays, no nation can live in isolation. Therefore, the Cuban people cannot be deprived of their ties with other people, ties which are necessary for economic, social and cultural development, particularly when imposed isolation indiscriminately affects the people, worsening difficulties for the weakest in basic aspects, such as food, health and education.

Everyone can and should take specific steps to bring about change in this regard.

May nations - particularly those which have the same Christian heritage and the same language - work efficiently to extend the benefits of unity and harmony, to join efforts and to overcome obstacles so that all the Cuban people, who are the makers of their own history, may maintain international relations that may always favour the common good.

This will contribute to overcoming the anxiety that results from material and moral poverty, whose reasons may be, among others, unfair inequalities, restricted basic freedoms, organizational depersonalization, individual discouragement and restrictive and unfair economic measures, which are imposed from abroad and are ethically unacceptable ...

Source: Cuba Vision, Havana, in Spanish 2348 gmt 25 Jan 98

Castro thanks Pope for visit, praises his "efforts for a fairer world"

Excerpts from speech delivered by Cuban President Fidel Castro at the farewell ceremony for Pope John Paul II at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana broadcast live by Cuban radio and TV on 25th January

Your Holiness, I believe we have given the world a good example. You have visited a place that some view as the last bastion of communism.

We have received the religious leader to whom some have tried to attribute the responsibility of destroying socialism in Europe.

Some people predicted apocalyptic events. Some even dreamed they would occur. It was cruelly unfair to associate your pastoral journey with the selfish hope of destroying the noble objectives and independence of a small country, which has been besieged and subject to a real economic war for almost 40 years.

Cuba today, Your Holiness, is facing the most powerful nation in history as a new David, who is a thousand times smaller.

Using the same sling of biblical times, Cuba is struggling to survive against a gigantic Goliath of the nuclear era, who is trying to prevent our development and force our people to surrender from hunger and sickness.

Had that story not been written then, it would have to be written today. This monstrous crime cannot be overlooked and permits no excuse.

[ image: Castro:]
Your Holiness, as many times as I listen to or read the lies expressed against my homeland and my people fabricated by those who adore no other god than gold, I always remember the Christians of ancient Rome, who were so atrociously slandered, as I already mentioned on the day of your arrival ...

Thousands of journalists transmitted to thousands of millions of persons in the world each detail of your visit and each word you pronounced. A large number of nationals and foreigners were interviewed throughout the country. Our national television networks transmitted live to our people all the masses, homilies and speeches.

Perhaps never before have so many opinions and so many items of news been heard about such a small nation in such a short time by so many people on our planet.

Cuba knows no fear. It has contempt for lies. It listens respectfully. It believes in its ideas. It invariably defends its principles and it has nothing to hide from the world.

I am moved by the efforts that Your Holiness is making to achieve a fairer world. States will disappear. The people will become a single human family ...

On behalf of all of the Cuban people, I thank you, Your Holiness, for having honoured us with your visit, for all your expressions of affection for the Cuban people, and for all your words, even those with which I may disagree. [Applause]

Source: Cuban radio and television, Havana, in Spanish 2340 gmt 25 Jan 98

BBC Monitoring (, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage


[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]
  Relevant Stories

26 Jan 98 | World
Pope picks US embargo as final target

  Internet Links

The Vatican

The National Website for the Republic of Cuba

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.