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Pope Benedict visits ailing Fidel Castro after Mass

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The Pope meets Fidel Castro during his visit to Cuba

The Pope meets Fidel Castro during his visit to Cuba

The Pope meets Fidel Castro during his visit to Cuba

THE Pope ended a historic visit to Cuba with a meeting with its ailing former leader Fidel Castro yesterday after celebrating Mass in front of hundreds of thousands gathered in Havana's Revolution Plaza.

Benedict XVI used his sermon to prod Communist authorities to embrace change and encourage Cubans to search for "authentic freedom" as he ended his three-day visit.

Crowds filled Havana's main square overnight, the sprawling plaza surrounded by huge images of revolutionary hero Ernesto "Che" Guevara and where Fidel Castro used to deliver speeches of fiery rhetoric.

The Pope (84), who attacked Marxism, as "no longer corresponding to reality", had made it a theme of his visit to urge increased co-operation between church and state. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent