Latin America & Caribbean

Pope Francis to make official visit to Mexico in February

Pope Francis in Rome, 1 Nov 2015 Image copyright AP
Image caption Pope Francis has said that the United States should see immigrants as people, not numbers

Pope Francis has announced that he will make his first official visit to Mexico early next year.

The Vatican says the Pope's eight-day trip will begin on 12 February.

Pope Francis is expected to address issues such as poverty, organised crime and discrimination against migrants who look for a better life in their own country or abroad.

He drew millions of people to the streets of four other Latin American countries earlier this year.

Pope Francis is expected to get a warm reception in Mexico, where more than 80% of the population are Catholics.

The Archbishop of Mexico City, Norberto Rivera Carrera, said the Pope would renew his calls for forgiveness and solidarity.

"He will surely address the issues of dignity, human rights and duties and the care we owe to the most vulnerable people in society, such as migrants," said Archbishop Rivera.

'Interest in the peripheries'

Details of the Pope's full schedule in the visit to Mexico have not yet been released.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Pope Francis urged Cubans gathered in Revolution Square to "care for one another"

Archbishop Rivera has confirmed, however, that he would have a meeting with President Enrique Pena Nieto and also visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the national shrine of Mexico.

In July Pope Francis visited Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay.

The Vatican said that his choice of three of the poorest countries in South America reflected his "interest in the peripheries".

He made an official visit to Cuba and the United States in September.

During his address to the US Congress, the Pope said immigrants should be treated "with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated".

Pope Francis has not been back to his native Argentina since being elected pontiff in 2013.

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