He’s on his way! Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive in Havana at 4pm today, eastern time. There are SO many angles to this trip. It is difficult to know where to start. We could begin talking about practicing Catholics, who may view this as some type of religious awakening. The Spanish language network Fusion conducted a recent survey in Cuba. The results showed that 27% of those polled identified themselves as Catholics. However, 80% said they had a positive opinion of Pope Francis. Only 47% said they had a positive opinion of President Raul Castro.
For those who consider themselves to be “spiritual but not religious,” some might believe that the Pope’s trip has been built around the autumnal equinox. Pope Francis will experience the exact moment of true universal spiritual balance at 4:21am eastern time while presumably sleeping during his first night in Washington D.C. Thank GOD he is scheduled to leave Cuba just in time to experience the equinox in the Free People’s Republic of the District of Columbia. It is reported to be the only capital city in the world with more government workers than Havana! When Raul visits President Obama there sometime before the end of Obama’s Presidency, he should feel right at home. At least Raul is decreasing the number of government workers in his country.
But getting back to the Pope’s visit to Cuba–there will be ceremonies and blessings and activities for several days. Tomorrow, Sunday, at 9am hundreds of thousands of Cubans will flock to Revolutionary Plaza. Many will be awe-struck being in the presence of Pope Francis. Many will be there to take part in what will be an historic event, with media present from all over the world. Some Cubans will be there to sell food and items to both localss and tourists. The majority of the crowd will be there to party with their friends, meet new people, drink rum, and smoke weed. However, my friends in Havana have emailed me that they are going to be as far away as possible from the crowds and the chaos.
I just noticed right now on CNN that there is a live shot of Revolutionary Square. The anchor Chris Cuomo is talking about a “new holy trinity.” A huge face of Ché Guevara is outlined on one building. The next structure supports a massive outline of Camilo Cienfuegos, another hero of the Cuban Revolution. Cuomo goes on to say, “Look at this–for the first time in Revolutiony Square—JESUS CHRIST!” There is a huge drape almost covering the side of a 10-story building with a glowing Jesus, with the caption: “Vengan a mí.” (Come to me.) Cuomo announced that President Raul Castro will attend all three masses throughout the country, and Castro is considering returning to the church! This whole scene is wonderful and weird; breathtaking and bizarre. You can’t make this stuff up!
One last thing—that building I mentioned above—the one with the huge drape of Jesus covering the front of the 10-story building—it houses Cuba’s Defense Department, roughly equivalent to America’s Pentagon. I am surprised that the newspeople haven’t mentioned this irony, but there sure is a lot of symbolism in this picture.
It is almost 4pm Havana time, so Pope Francis’ aircraft will be landing any time. Let the show begin!