The Vatican's secretary of state is in Cuba for a visit in which he is to meet with Raul Castro, Cuba's interim leader and potential new president.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone began his first full day in Cuba Thursday, after arriving in Havana late Wednesday.  Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega and other officials greeted Bertone at the airport.

Bertone's visit is marking the 10th anniversary of the late Pope John Paul's trip to Cuba.  That journey helped warm relations strained by Cuban leader Fidel Castro when he expelled Catholic priests following his 1959 revolution.

During Betrone's six-day trip, he is to travel to eastern and central Cuba and hold a mass in Guantanamo.

On Monday, he is to meet Mr. Castro's younger brother, Raul, who is likely to be named Cuba's new president on Sunday.

Raul Castro has been acting president since his brother underwent surgery in 2006.

Fidel Castro, 81, announced earlier this week that he plans to step down after 49 years in power.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.