Pope Benedict XVI lands in Latin America tomorrow, starting a tour through Mexico and Cuba to visit some of the faith’s most active hubs.
This is the Pope’s second visit to Latin America – he visited Brazil in 2007 – and his first to Spanish-speaking countries in the region.
Local media are reporting that he will have some big shoes to fill. John Paul II was always a huge draw wherever he went, and he visited every Latin American country at least once.
“A ghost will follow Pope Benedict XVI at every step during his trip to Mexico and Cuba: that of his predecessor, John Paul II,” Mexico’s Informador led in their story about the visit.
The outlet, based out of Guadalajara, reported that John Paul – who died in 2005 – attracted large crowds of all peoples in Ecuador, challenged the guerrillas in the Peruvian highlands and defended the rights of miners in Bolivia.
La Prensa Latina, based in Cuba, also announced today that they would be providing “comprehensive coverage” of the visit, including reports from a team in Mexico.
“The monitoring of the Supreme Pontiff’s activities, both in Mexico and the Caribbean island, include briefing notes, photos, TV pieces, radio materials, photojournalism and daily summaries,” the agency noted.
La Información, based in Spain, reported that the Vatican’s Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone said the visit will ”help the process towards democracy and open new spaces of presence and activity (for the church)” in Cuba. The Pope is set to land in Cuba on Monday.
Last week, in anticipation of the visit, protesters occupied a Catholic church in Havana; they were peacefully removed by police 48 hours after they began their protest. Members of the “Ladies in White” protest group were also arrested over the weekend, but released Sunday.