Posted on Saturday, 04.19.14
Archbishop Wenski asks for prayers for Cuban dissidents
BY JUAN O. TAMAYO
Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski has asked that masses at the Our Lady of
Charity shrine say special prayers this weekend for Cuban dissident
Sonia Garro and two others jailed without trial since shortly before a
papal mass in Havana in 2012.
Wenski was responding to a request by the Center for a Free Cuba, a
pro-democracy group based in Washington and headed by Frank Calzon, to
several Roman Catholic Church officials to offer prayers for the
dissidents on Easter Sunday.
"Please know that this family will be in my prayers -- and that I have
asked that this prayer of petition be included in the prayers offered at
La Ermita de la Caridad this weekend" in Coconut Grove, Wenski wrote in
Garro, a member of the Ladies in White, husband Ramón Alejandro Muñoz
and activist Eugenio Hernández were arrested at the couple's home in a
poor Havana neighborhood March 18 2012 as they made plans to attend Pope
Benedict XVI's mass, dissidents say.
Prosecutors accused them of trying to kill policemen when they resisted
a raid on the home. Garro has claimed that there was no resistance and
alleged that police used tear gas and shot her in the leg with a rubber
bullet during the raid.
No trial has been held but prosecutors have asked for a 14-year sentence
for Muñoz, 11 for Hernandez and 10 for Garro – among the longest prison
terms for dissidents since 75 opposition activists were sentenced to up
to 28 years in the spring of 2003.
Police detained more than 1,000 dissidents during the pope's Cuba visit
April 26-28 to keep them away from the papal masses, and blocked their
cell phones in an apparent attempt to keep news of the crackdown from
filtering out to the news media.
Calzon also made public a response from Bishop Richard Pates of Des
Moines, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of
the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops.
"We share in your heartfelt concern for these brave individuals, and
indeed for all the (Ladies in White) and their supporters in Cuba,"
Pates said, promising to "take such further steps as may be advisable to
pursue a just resolution of this case."
Pates added that he was convinced "the best way to assist these heroic
individuals is by supporting the efforts of the Cuban Bishops'
Conference in its work of fostering human rights and democracy in that
Source: Archbishop Wenski asks for prayers for Cuban dissidents - Cuba -