Pope: Cuban communism "no longer reflects reality"


Pope Benedict XVI (C) flanked by Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (L) and Italian Premier Mario Monti walks with a stick on the tarmac as he boards a plane on his way to Mexico and Cuba on March 23, 2012 at Rome's Fiumicino airport. Pope Benedict XVI sets off on an arduous journey to Latin America where he will address key issues including the war on drugs in Mexico and the evolution of the communist regime in Cuba


Filippo Monteforte

The Marxist ideology of Cuba's communist government "no longer reflects reality," Pope Benedict XVI said to reporters aboard a plane bound for a tour of the Americas, the Associated Press wrote.

Reuters reported he said he would help find ways forward for the island nation without "trauma."

"New models must be found with patience and in a constructive way....we want to help," Benedict said.

More from GlobalPost: In Cuba, expecting Pope Benedict XVI

The comments come just before Benedict lands in Mexico, which will be the first stop on his papal tour of the Americas. 

The AP reported that Benedict's predecessor, Pope John Pail II, was extremely popular in Mexico. He traveled there five times and "love for the late pontiff was so strong that millions turned out to honor him even after death when a glass case containing his blood was brought to the country."

Reuters wrote that the "ghost" of John Paul will be following Benedict as he attemps to generate enthusiasm in his first trip to Mexico.

"Opinion polls show that a majority of people in Mexico and Cuba, reflecting the mood throughout Latin America, feel more affection and veneration for John Paul than for Benedict, who they believe understands them and their culture less," Reuters wrote.

More from GlobalPost: The Argentine economy's fuzzy math problem

Benedict also bemoaned Mexico's ongoing drug cartel violence, blaming it on the "idolatry of money."

His trip begins in Mexico and he will arrive in Cuba on Monday.