Foreign relations

The significance of Raul Castro’s visit to Rome and the Vatican

Yesterday the Cuban President Raul Castro visited Rome and the Vatican where he met Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Pope Francis, respectively.

The meeting with the Pope was very successful, with Mr Castro commenting that the new Head of the Catholic Church could even reconvert a Communist leader like himself to religion.

The Holy See is credited with greatly facilitating the defrosting of the relations between Cuba and the United States, but this is not the only reason for which Mr Castro made his pilgrimage to the Vatican.

Cuba does not to want to come back under the sphere of influence of the United States, so it needs to adopt a multilateral approach and to find new allies and partners to balance the American influence. Rome is an ideal place to start, since there you can talk to Europe and to the Holy See.

Despite decades of officially atheist regime, Cuba is still a Catholic island, so there is a religious, cultural and historical relationship which could turn political.

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