24 Mar 2012

Pope Benedict visits Mexico

5:12 pm on 24 March 2012

Pope Benedict has arrived in Mexico on his first visit to Spanish-speaking Latin America, where the Catholic church is struggling to retain its influence.

He was welcomed by cheering crowds at the airport in Guanajuato state, the BBC reports.

President Felipe Calderon says the Pope's visit has enormous importance as Mexico struggles against drug-related violence.

The Pope has denounced drug culture, saying it is destroying Mexico's younger generation.

He also says Cuba, where he heads to after Mexico, has to turn its back on Marxism, which he said no longer corresponded to reality.