Pope Francis arrives in Ecuador for Latin American tour

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Cancillería del Ecuador on Flickr

POPE FRANCIS arrived in Ecuador on Sunday July 5 at the beginning of his eight-day tour of Latin America and was welcomed by a crowd of half a million lining the streets of the capital, Quito.
Crowds also gathered outside the Vatican embassy in the city, where the Pope stayed the night. He joined them in prayer, blessing them and encouraging them to return home to get a good night’s sleep.
When he arrived in Quito, Ecuador, he was greeted by President Rafeal Correa and said he thanked God for “allowing him to return to Latin America”. He is also due to visit Bolivia and Paraguay, as he wishes to focus on the region’s poverty and inequality and, according to the Vatican, takes a special interest in the “peripheries” of the area.
In his speech at Quito airport he insisted that, “progress and development must ensure a better future for all.”
Meanwhile he has made a request to the Bolivian culture minister that he takes part in the local custom of chewing coca leaves. The leaves, which are also the main ingredient for cocaine, are used in the Andes as a cure for altitude sickness and are a mild stimulant.

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