Che Guevara’s daughter refuses to attend Pope Francis mass in Cuba
The Cuban revolutionary’s daughter Aleida Guevara has refused to go to a mass Pope Francis will lead during his historic Cuban trip, saying it would be “hypocritical” of her to be present.
The mass will take place in Revolution Square in Havana, which is adorned with a huge mural of the iconic guerilla leader, Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
"The CPC (Communist Party of Cuba) asks us militants to go to mass, to go to meet the Pope. That is as a task from the party with which I don’t entirely agree," Aleida Guevara told AFP.
"I won’t go to the mass because it would be hypocritical of me. What will I do standing there for hours? No, no," she added, also saying, "My dad is there [Che Guevara’s grave is in Revolution Square, in Havana] because it is a symbol of this country."
Pope Francis arrived in the Cuban capital on Saturday, and was warmly welcomed by President Raul Castro. The party and the Catholic Church are inviting everyone to join the historic mass, the first of the three to be conducted by the pontiff in Cuba.
This is the first leg of the Pope’s 10-day trip to Cuba and the US.
Pope Francis, 78, has been acting as a mediator between Washington and Havana, and has been a guarantor of negotiations.
His Holiness said the diplomatic breakthrough between the US and Cuba should become an example to the whole world.
“It is a sign of victory of the culture of encounter and dialogue, ‘the system of universal growth’ over ‘the forever dead system of groups and dynasties,’” he said.
“I urge political leaders to persevere on this path and to develop all its potentialities as a proof of the high service they are called to carry out on behalf of peace and the well-being of their peoples, of all America, and as an example of reconciliation for the entire world,” Francis added.
The historic thawing in US-Cuba relations occurred last December. The embargo remains, but on Friday, using his executive authority to circumvent Congress, Obama issued new regulations allowing US citizens to travel to Cuba. The move also offers more freedom for telephone, internet investment and money transfers to Cuba.