Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Church in Cuba Marks Success in Negotiations

Church in Cuba Marks Success in Negotiations

HAVANA, Cuba, JUNE 8, 2010 (Zenit.org).- A group of wives and mothers of
Cuban political prisoners is thanking the Church for mediation that has
so far resulted in six inmates being moved to prisons closer to their homes.

The group is known as the Ladies in White. And they march each Sunday in
protest of the detainment of their husbands and family members. They are
the only public protestors known to have been permitted by Cuban
authorities since the '60s.

Last month, the Ladies in White began to expect progress after their
cause has been heard by the government through the mediation of the Church.

Representatives of the group have met with Cardinal Jaime Ortega y
Alamino, archbishop of Havana, and one of his auxiliaries, Bishop Juan
de Dios Hernández.

The cardinal was informed last week that six political prisoners have
been transferred to their home town provinces, a move that has been one
of the ongoing requests of the Ladies in White.

An archdiocesan spokesman, Orlando Márquez Hidalgo, announced the news,
given to the cardinal by Cuban authorities.

He cautioned against giving too much credit to the many rumors about the
process that are cropping up.

"[T]rustworthy information," the spokesman clarified, "will be generated
or confirmed exclusively by a source of the archbishopric of Havana."

Door of hope

It is thought that Cuba is holding more than 200 political prisoners.
The six moved are part of a group of some 75 prisoners detained in 2003
during a campaign known as the Cuban Black Spring.

Laura Pollán is the spokeswoman for the Ladies in White. She told
journalists that the women "are very grateful for the intervention of
the Catholic Church as a mediator."

Pollán revealed that Cardinal Ortega personally called the wives of two
of the prisoners to give them the news, a gesture she classified as
"very important."

In 51 years, she added, "the government has never had these
conversations with the Church and now it is listening to her. I think
this will not just give us a small opening but a window, and it might
possibly be a door."


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