Cuban-Americans head to Cuba for pope's visit

By LAURA WIDES-MUNOZ | March 25, 2012 | 3:45 PM EDT

MIAMI (AP) — More than 300 Cuban-Americans who will form a delegation to Cuba for Pope Benedict XVI's historic visit.

It will be led by Miami's Roman Catholic Archbishop Thomas Wenski. Some of those making the pilgrimage Monday fled the island half a century ago. Some grew up with only the stories their exile parents told them of the island 90 miles (145 kilometers) across the Florida Straits.

Travel to Cuba is always controversial among Cuban-Americans, and the half-century-old U.S. embargo of the island severely limits travel there. In the 1970s, those who visited were often blacklisted in South Florida, and a few faced violence upon return. These days, newer Cuban immigrants often visit relatives on the island. But the issue is still a requisite topic for politicians campaigning in Florida.