New details are emerging about the months-long, secret negotiations between the U.S. and Cuba that led to today's announcement that the two countries are normalizing diplomatic relations for the first time in 50 years. The one that really stood out was the involvement of Pope Francis, according to The New York Times:
In a deal negotiated during 18 months of secret talks hosted largely by Canada and encouraged by Pope Francis who hosted a final culminating meeting at the Vatican, President Obama and President Raul Castro of Cuba agreed in a telephone call to put aside decades of hostility to find a new relationship between the island nation just 90 minutes off the American coast. [The New York Times]
Francis' involvement harks back to the days of Pope John Paul II, when the Catholic Church was a major player in efforts to defeat communism around the world.