In Cuba, Some Hope Papal Visit Can Change Castro Government

PHOTO: Images of Pope Benedict XVI, by the French-Italian artist Gaspare Di Caro, are projected on the facade of the cathedral in Havana, Cuba on March 25, 2012.

We stumbled across this last night, a glimmer of light beckoning us from around the corner. Havana's Cathedral Square was transformed into something magical, this beautiful image of Pope Benedict XVI interwoven with the Cuban flag, beamed onto the face of the cathedral in blazing color. Music played quietly while a pair of nuns in their habits stared reverently in front of us.

It was something spiritual but also so Cuban, that riot of color. There is beauty and vibrancy everywhere here -- those gorgeous old cars, a local band drumming at an open-air bar, young couples canoodling on the waterfront promenade known as the Malecon.

But what lurks beneath that is harder to see. Yesterday, a man pushed forward during the pope's mass, shouting, "down with Communism!" He was taken away, but to where, or what fate, we don't know.

There is fear, says Ana, an English teacher we met at a church in Bauta, outside of Havana, who was willing to speak openly with us.

"People here are are afraid of losing their jobs," she said. "Of talking like this and getting imprisoned. Of getting hurt. So they keep quiet."

The alternative, she says, is to leave the country. "But this is my country!" she cried passionately. "I don't want to leave it. But I cannot live here either."

Ana, who's 54, doesn't think she will live to see a Cuba that is different from the one she has known her entire life. But, she is hopeful that the pope may push the Castro government towards some incremental changes.

The pope's visit is a "joyful celebration," she says. "But also he can help us with the government."

ABC's "Nightline" producer Katie Hinman is traveling with Christiane Amanpour to report on Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Cuba.

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