Pope Francis is in Brazil for his first overseas trip since taking office in March. The 76-year-old from Argentina, Latin America's first pope, was greeted at the airport by President Dilma Rousseff.
Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, landed in Brazil on Monday afternoon local time, met by President Dilma Rousseff at Rio de Janeiro's airport.
Latin America's first ever pontiff, who has repeatedly said he intends to carry out his duties in a slightly less lavish manner than his predecessors, flew with commercial airliner Alitalia and made a point of carrying his own hand luggage to the plane.
The iconic, bulletproof "Pope mobile" that usually accompanies the head of the Roman Catholic Church, has been left in its garage in the Vatican for Francis' first international visit. Brazilian authorities, however, have mobilized more than 20,000 soldiers, police and security officials for the visit. Thousands of Brazilians took to the streets last month in public protests focused around the Confederations Cup football tournament, with a proposed hike in public transport fees helping set the demonstrations in motion.
Prior to Rio, Francis visited the Italian island of Lampedusa, a European haven for refugees and other people fleeing North Africa.
The Argentine will participate in World Youth Day in Rio, along with hundreds of thousands of young Catholics from around the world. Francis will stay in the city for a week, his earliest appointments being with President Rousseff.
msh/ccp (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)