Human Rights Group Says Cuba Arrests, Harasses Activists During Papal Visit
By Eyder Peralta
Amnesty International says the Cuban government has increased its
harassment of opposition activists.
According to the human rights organization, the government has detained
more 150 opponents and in other situations has surrounded some of the
activists' homes to prevent them from "denouncing abuses during Pope
Amnesty adds that some human rights organizations and prominent
activists have had their phones cut off.
"In view of this situation, which contradicts his appeal for a 'more
open society' in Cuba, the Pope should take a stand and lend his voice
to those that have been left voiceless due to the ongoing repression and
condemn the lack of freedoms in Cuba," Javier Zúñiga, Special Advisor at
Amnesty International, said in a statement.
As we reported, during his tour of the island Pope Benedict XVI has
delivered pointed criticisms of the regime.
Yoani Sánchez, perhaps the country's best known opposition bloggers,
said she was at the papal mass this morning. She sent out dispatches on
Twitter, saying that as the pope said goodbye some of her friends were
released from detention.
"I'm sorry to say it," she said on Twitter, "the pope's mantle did
protect all of us."
The Miami Herald reports that the Vatican confirmed the pontiff is
meeting with former Cuban President Fidel Castro, today. The pope met
with Castro's brother and Cuba's current president Raúl Castro, yesterday.