Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Democracy movements plans flotillas from Key West to near Cuba

Posted on Monday, 03.26.12


Democracy movements plans flotillas from Key West to near Cuba

Organizers of the flotilla said dissidents on the island plan to get
close to the Seawall with candles and torches on a Journey of Light for
By Enrique Flor and Alfonso Chardy

The first of two flotillas of the Democracy Movement sailed early
Tuesday morning from Key West headed to a destination 12 miles away from
Cuban shores, where they will stage a fireworks show to welcome Pope
Benedict XVI to the island and demand the Cuban government to stop

The second flotilla will leave at 10 p.m. to also get close to the limit
of Cuban waters. Once there, the travelers will send greetings on
Wednesday morning to their fellow citizens, reflecting lights on mirrors
at the end of the papal Mass to be held at the Revolution Plaza in
Havana, which will be seen on gigantic screens aboard both boats.

After the Mass, the travelers will throw flowers in the water to honor
Cubans who have been executed by the Cuban regime since 1959, and to pay
tribute to those who have died in their attempts to cross the Florida

Ramón Saúl Sánchez, president of the Democracy Movement, told El Nuevo
Herald that the flotillas will show the pope that exiles welcome him and
wish that his visit will bring a stop to repression.

"We want to send various messages," he said. "One is to welcome the pope
to Cuba on behalf of the Cuban people and exiles who believe that his
visit will be good for Cuba, while expressing our feelings about the
human rights situation, the beating of the Ladies in White and the
murder of peaceful dissidents. The pope arrives in an oppressed country
that wishes to be free and wants human rights to be respected."

On Dec. 9, another flotilla of the Democracy Movement presented a
fireworks show in front of Havana's Seawall that provoked a huge display
of police to prevent citizens from getting close to the coast.

Sánchez said Monday that the flotilla of five boats that sailed in the
morning plans to present a larger show at 7 p.m. The colors of the
lights will include white and yellow to represent the Vatican's flag.

He added that he has coordinated with dissidents on the island who will
try to get close to the Seawall with candles and torches on a Journey of
Light for Freedom. The organizations that would participate, Sánchez
said, include the Party for Democracy Pedro Luis Boitel, Hard Line Front
and Boycott Orlando Zapata Tamayo, Cuba's Patriotic Union, the Latin
American Federation of Rural Women, the Cuban Committee for Human Rights
and the Republican Party of Cuba.

"Symbolically, we wish to expose the division of the Cuban family and
the nation," Sánchez said. "And we will be praying for the unification
of both and for the end of the violence against the Ladies in White and
other women who come out to pray for their loved ones."

The travelers that will go on the flotillas include Carmelo Díaz
Fernández, one of the 75 dissidents detained in Havana in the 2003 wave
of repression known as Black Spring.

Fernández was released for health reasons in 2004. Most of those
included in his case were also released last year, after conversations
between Raúl Castro's government and the Cuban Catholic Church's hierarchy.

After arriving in Key West on Monday with five other travelers from
Miami, Fernández said: "I am moved and happy to express our feelings in
favor of the pope's visit to Cuba. I don't think the pope is going to
congratulate the regime, but his visit has an apostolic mission."

Manny Ruiz, who is in charge of logistics in the flotillas, said that
the organization of the project took two months.

"We have a lot of enthusiasm because it's the second visit of a pope to
Cuba," he said. "This flotilla will be about love and lights of freedom
as a way to unify our cause and keep alive the dream of returning to Cuba."


No comments:

Post a Comment