In 1998, when Pope John Paul II made his historic visit to Cuba, few Cuban-Americans made the pilgrimage across the Florida straits.
But when Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Cuba on Monday, hundreds of Cuban-Americans will be on hand in Santiago de Cuba when he celebrates Mass.
Carlos Saladrigas is well-known in Miami's Cuban-American community. He's a prominent businessman and co-chairman of the Cuba Study Group, an organization working to make Cuba a free and open society. He'll be in Antonio Maceo Revolution Square for Mass.
The preparations for Pope Benedict XVI's three-day visit to Cuba have produced some unusual sights and sounds there lately.
A church van with a megaphone drove around one Havana neighborhood recently, calling Cubans out of their homes to a gathering in a nearby park, with the message that God loves them.
The number of churchgoing Catholics on the island is growing again, but it remains less than 10 percent, and the call to gather was a rare exception to the Communist government's ban on public acts of religious proselytism.
Fidel Castro made a surprise appearance at the 6th Communist Party Congress in Havana, Cuba, held April 19, 2011. This weekend, the party will meet for the first time since then, and observers will be looking for insight into who may be on the ascendant in the party leadership.
Credit Javier Galeano / AP
In Cuba this weekend, President Raul Castro will preside over the first meeting of the island's all-powerful Communist Party since last April. Castro has lowered expectations for any new economic reform announcements, saying that internal party affairs will be the business at hand.
But many Cubans will be watching for signs of who is rising in the party's ranks — and who could take over after Raul and Fidel Castro, both in their 80s, are gone.