March 26 - Pope Benedict XVI's arrives in Cuba, with residents in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba preparing to welcome the Pope. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Pope Benedict arrives in Cuba. President Raul Castro welcomes the Pontiff for a three-day visit that will include two open-air masses. In Santiago de Cuba, residents are making sure that everything is in order. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SANTIAGO RESIDENT WALTER CARBONEL SAYING: "Our ready and beautiful city is waiting for the pontiff and everything has been prepared for him with much love," The Pope comes to Cuba at a time when Church-state relations have warmed after decades of hostility that followed the island's 1959 revolution. Though weakened after more than half a century of communist rule, the Church remains the largest and most socially influential institution outside of the government in Cuba. But Benedict fired an unexpected salvo on Friday when he told reporters that communism on the Caribbean island had failed and a new economic model was needed, adding that the Church was willing to offer its help "to avoid traumas." Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.