Cuban bishops are actively campaigning for Pope Benedict XVI to visit their island in 2012, the 400th anniversary of Cuba’s Catholic patron saint “Our Lady of Charity”. The last visit by a Pope was in 1998 when Pope John Paul II came and was the first pope to have visited Cuba. Since then other Vatican dignitaries have come to visit Cuban Catholics and are currently in Havana to celebrate Catholic Social Week.
Political dissidents are also campaigning for a papal visit in hopes that more freedom’s will be granted to political prisoners. Half of all Cuban’s are Roman Catholic and have lived under religion oppression for many years. Slowly the government has allowed Cuban’s to freely express their faith. As of 1992 the country is no longer officially atheist.
As hopeful as many Cuban’s are for a Papal visit it is ultimately upto Pope Benedict to decide whether he will go and thus far he nor Vatican officials have indicated they will attend the 2012 celebration.