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US Hopeful of Pope’s Visit to Cuba

January 20, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Clinton administration said Tuesday it was hopeful that the visit of Pope John Paul II to Cuba would bring to the Cuban people a message of hope and promote maximum religious freedom.

``The more the pope’s visit can do to bring religious freedom to the people who are suffering from a lack of freedom in general in that country, the better as far as we’re concerned,″ State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said.

The pope arrives in Cuba on Wednesday.

At the White House, President Clinton was asked during a photo session what the United States gains from maintaining its economic embargo against Cuba.

``We want Cuba to move toward freedom and openness, and if they do, we’ll respond. That’s what’s always been our position, and I believe that in the end it will prevail,″ he said.

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