After he stepped off the plane, he was met by Cuban President Raúl Castro. The two then greeted several children.
As Francis addressed the cheering crowds at the Jose Marti International Airport, he praised the U.S. and Cuba for normalizing relations after many years of estrangement. He called it "an event which fills us with hope."
"It is a sign of the victory of the culture of encounter and dialogue," he said, also urging political leaders to "persevere on this path."
"It is time for reconciliation," he said.
"The world needs reconciliation in this atmosphere of World War III during this period in which we are now living," he said, looking over at the Cuban president.
Francis is the third pontiff to visit Cuba in the last 17 years.