Santiago (Agenzia Fides) - For the second consecutive year, a government decree gives Cubans a festive day in Holy Week after decades due to tensions with the Catholic Church, the Havana government had canceled religious holidays from the offiacial calendar. This year, a government decree states that the Cubans will have a free day on the occasion of Good Friday as it did last year, in response to a request of the Holy See to the authorities of the island. The decision comes after an improvement in relations between Havana and the Vatican, thanks to the visits to Cuba by Pope John Paul II in 1998, and Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.
A note published on March 18 by the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba, Granma, said that "it was decided by the heads of the Country to approve a break from work on Friday, March 29, 2013." The note does not explain the reason for this decision.
After the visit of Pope John Paul II Christmas as a religious holiday was restored, and last year with Benedict XVI’s visit "in an extraordinary way" a day off on Good Friday had been granted. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 20/03/2013)