Ned Walsh of Four Oaks has made eight visits to Cuba since 1992 -- the last three as a visiting professor of American History and Culture at a Cuban university. Walsh says that the Pope's visit is just the latest of many changes sweeping through the communist nation.
He first visited Cuba six years ago as part of a group from Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh. Now, many at the University of Matanzas know him as teacher.
Listen toauorreal audiofiles. "They're very interested in the history of this country -- and updating their perspectives on U.S. history as opposed to a Soviet interpretation of it. A U.S. citizen teaching U.S. history in Cuba is quite unique."
More educational freedom is one of the changes that Walsh has witnessed in Cuba. The cracking of old communist barriers culminated in this week's first-ever Papal visit to the island nation.
Listen toauorreal audiofiles. "The real significance seems to be that politics makes strange bedfellows, as well as religion. And the Pope's visit, I think, signals the beginnings so the of some significant changes inside Cuba, relative to the Church."
Walsh says that loosening religious restraints can accomplish many things in Cuba. He hopes that the Pope will also put pressure on the United States to improve the lives of the Cuban people.
Listen toauorreal audiofiles. "And, I think that the Pope has real interest in human rights. And, he has a real interest in the human rights even of the Cuban people, relative to the U.S. embargo, and what it is doing."
Walsh believes the embargo will not force the people to change their government... He says lifting the embargo of goods into Cuba will speed up the positive changes already taking place.