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Pope Francis speaks to students in Cuba and the United States. - OSS_ROM
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said he will “do everything possible to build bridges, to remove barriers, and to foster communication” between Cuba and the United States during his 10-day visit to the two countries.
“That communication can then bring about friendship,” he said during a teleconference aired by CNN en Español on Friday.
The Holy Father was answering questions from students in Havana and New York in an ecounter which was organized with the charity “Scholas occurrentes.”
The question about the US embargo on Cuba came from a student in Havana.
“One of the nicest things is the friendship among societies,” Pope Francis said. “That is what I would like you to want: a friendship among societies.”
Asked by another Cuban student about his style of leadership, Pope Francis said, “a good leader is one who is capable of bringing up other leaders. If a leader wants to lead alone, he is a tyrant. True leadership is fruitful. Each one of you has the seed of leadership."
"The leaders of today will not be here tomorrow,” said Pope Francis. “If they do not plant the seed of leadership in others, then they are no good, they are dictators.”
Pope Francis also spoke about the rights of children to an education, saying “we are in a time of crisis in the world when it comes to education.”
“Think the number of children in countries that are at war right now, with no education. Thousands and thousands of children,” he said.
“It is a challenge. It is a challenge that must be faced. And we have to start,” the Pope said.
Pope Francis challenged young people to not wait until the governments come to an agreement, but called on them to “educate each other,” and commended those who gave up holidays and weekends to teach others.
Pope Francis also said an important part of education is playing, because that is where you learn “how to be social, and how to enjoy life.”
“We have lost track of the number of children who do not have the pleasure of being able to play, because of war, poverty, or because they live on the street,” he said.
During the encounter, Pope Francis also said young people need to start taking care of the environment, saying it is “shouting for us to pay attention.”
“First of all, see the problems in your neighborhood, your city, and your country. What environmental problems exist?” said the Pope, urging them to look for concrete ways to act.
Pope Francis ended the encounter by telling the young people “Do not be afraid,” adding “fear paralyzes.” He reminded them the future in their hands.