As Pope Benedict XVI entered
Santiago's main square to celebrate Mass, a lone man began shouting
anti-government slogans such as "Down with the Revolution!", causing
a brief stir.
The man was restrained and led
away by security agents, accompanied by shouts from an angry congregation.
Commenting on Monday's incident,
Vatican spokesman the Reverend Federico Lombardi said Cuban worshipers were
entitled to be close to the pope without disturbance.
"They have the right to
manifest their opinions and on the other hand they have the right not to be
disturbed in their religious activity."
It was not clear who the man was
or what happened to him.
The government had no immediate
Lombardi also dismissed rumors of
a potential meeting between Benedict and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who
is in Cuba receiving radiotherapy.
"There is no petition for a
specific personal meeting between president Chavez and the Pope," he said.
"If President Chavez wishes
to participate in the Mass of course he can participate like all the others who
want to come to Mass."
Benedict will only be in Cuba for
a little over 48 hours, and his limited schedule is sure to disappoint many who
want a piece of his attention, from the dissident community to returning Cuban
The Vatican has said the pope has
no plans to meet with any of them, citing his advanced age and need for rest.