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Cuba's anticipation grows as Pope Francis' visit nears

The first Latin American pope visits Cuba at time of change between the United States and Cuba. He helped bury the hatchet between the two countries that have been at odds for 50-plus years.
The first Latin American pope visits Cuba at time of change between the United States and Cuba. He helped bury the hatchet between the two countries that have been at odds for 50-plus years.

HAVANA, Cuba – Pope Francis will soon be making political waves in Cuba. Starting Saturday, the Pope will spend four days traveling through Cuba before heading to the United States. During News 6's July trip to Cuba, we went by several of the pope's planned stops to see how they're preparing.

[RELATED: Cuba preps for Pope Francis' historic trip]

"We are in Revolution Square, Plaza de la Revolución," said our guide, Michel Perez.

"The most important political events took place here. Big speech from Fidel and visitors," he continued.

That includes John Paul II in 1998 and Pope Benedict in 2012. In the plaza, thousands of people attended Mass.

For the third Vatican trip to the country, as the excitement builds, so does the stage.

In Plaza de la Revolución, the Revolution Square, known for rallies, the figure of Cuba's national hero, Jose Márti is on one side. Two Cuban revolutionary figures peer down from the other. The area is heavily guarded and under surveillance.

"The moment that John Paul visited Cuba, it was a turning point for religious people," said Perez.

The first Latin American pope visits Cuba at time of change between the United States and Cuba. He helped bury the hatchet between the two countries that have been at odds for 50-plus years.

"Cuando cambian los corazones, cambia la mirada, cambia la estancia, la nación," said Winston Felipe Diaz Acosta, a teacher at the Havana Cathedral, another one of the pope's stops.

Acosta told News 6 that when hearts change, so does perceptions and a nation.

The pontiff will pray at the cathedral with priests and seminarians.

In between new construction, there's tranquility at the Felix Varela Cultural Center. There, the pope will address the youth.

"Many people see more hope on Francis that is coming to Cuba," said Perez.

They said they hope that the pontiff's presence will not only change some hearts, but minds.?