March 28th, 2012
01:51 AM ET

Fidel Castro asks for 'modest and simple' meeting with pope

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro says he has asked for a "modest and simple" meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in Havana on Wednesday.

"I will gladly meet tomorrow morning His Excellency, the Pope, as I did when John Paul II visited," Castro wrote Tuesday in the official Cubadebate website.

Castro, who stepped down from power in 2006 due to illness, called the pope "a man whose contact with children and humble members of society has, invariably, raised feelings of affection."

In Havana, the pope will also celebrate Mass in the Cuban capital's Revolution Plaza.

His visit comes 14 years after Pope John Paul II addressed throngs of onlookers in the historic first papal visit to the island nation in 1998.

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