While Pope Francis has played a pivotal role in reconciling Cuba and the US, President Castro’s role in reconciling implacable foes in Colombia is an achievement on a similar scale. It was Castro who persuaded a reluctant President Santos to clasp Timochenko’s hand, and promised that Cuba, a guarantor nation, would continue to provide “absolute impartiality and discretion” as part of its “modest contribution” to help bring about peace.

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