(AFP) November 10, 2011
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI is planning to visit Cuba and Mexico in the spring of 2012, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said on Thursday, adding that Cuba "wanted to see the pope very much."
"The nuncios of Mexico and Cuba have been charged in recent days with informing the highest religious and political leaders in the two countries that the pope is examining a concrete project to visit," he said in a statement.
Cuba "is a country that wanted to see the pope very much. It has never forgotten John Paul II's historic visit" in 1998, he said.
"The pope's visit will be a great encouragement, particularly on the 400-year anniversary of the Virgin of Charity," the patron saint of Cuba.
"The Church and the whole population are living through an important moment in their history" he added.
Lombardi said the 84-year-old pope had been advised not to travel to parts of Mexico because of the altitude but said he would probably visit the capital.
The pope visited Brazil in May 2007 for a conference of Latin American and Caribbean bishops.