ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI has denounced the drug-fueled violence wracking Mexico and is urging Cubans to use dialogue to find new models to replace Marxism, as he begins a pilgrimage to both countries.
Benedict spoke to reporters after breakfast aboard a special Alitalia flight Friday bringing him to central Mexico later that day.
The pope says "idolatry of money" lies behind the violence that has claimed more than 47,000 lives in Mexico since a government crackdown began in 2006.
Benedict also says it's evident that in Cuba today Marxist ideology "no longer responds to reality" and is urging Cubans to "find new models, with patience, and in a constructive way."
The pope, who turns 85 next month, is on a weeklong trip.