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Cuban Protesters Hoping for Papal Meeting During Francis’ US-Cuba Trip

Meet With Nuncio to Speak of Human Rights Situation on the Island

Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, apostolic nuncio in Cuba, met last week with a group of the Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White), headed by Berta Soler. During the meeting, the activists asked the Holy See representative to be received by Pope Francis when he visits the Island next September.

They also expressed their concern about the possible measures of Raul Castro’s government to control the Opposition during the Pontiff’s visit. In this connection, they said that in 2012 — on the occasion of Benedict XVI’s trip to Cuba — there were detentions, house arrests and telephone blackouts to impede activists from communicating with one another.

“We met with the Nuncio for an hour and 20 minutes on Wednesday and we handed him a letter addressed to the Holy Father requesting that — when he visits Cuba, despite his tight agenda — he receive the Ladies in White,” explained Soler. “We know that that meeting is not in the Nuncio’s hands, but he was very receptive and said he would send the letter,” she added.

The dissident also said that they informed Archbishop Lingua on the situation of human rights in the Island, and gave him a CD with testimonies of Ladies and women activists, which have been suppressed by the regime in the last weeks, as well as a list of Cuban political prisoners. The Apostolic Nunciature confirmed the meeting, without giving further details.

Every Sunday, the Ladies in While attend Mass in Saint Rita’s church in Havana’s Miramar neighborhood, and they walk around the adjacent streets, in absolute silence, carrying photos of their relatives with the number of years that they have been imprisoned. In 2005 they received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Conscience, which the European Parliament grants every year.

 

About Iván de Vargas

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