Throughout this week this blog will publish declarations from numerous Cuban dissidents and activists in regards to the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the island which will take place this upcoming Monday, March 26th. The question they are being asked is: Regardless if one is in favor or against the visit of the Pope, it is certain that the eyes of the world will be upon Cuba during those three days. What message would you send to the world and to Pope Benedict XVI?
Response from Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White
“The message that I would send to the world and to Pope Benedict XVI is that we, the Ladies in White, are women who love our families, who love life, and who have learned to love our nation more and more everyday. We are peaceful women and, here in Cuba, we really are in need of that message which the Holy Father will bring- that message of love, peace, faith, and freedom. The Cuban people need freedom. But the Pope is not going to bring freedom to Cuba, our freedom depends on us Cubans. Yet, it would be essential that the Pope know of the situation on the island, and we Ladies in White would like to have at least a minute with the Holy Father so that he knows that in this country there are political prisoners, that human rights are violated, and that there are women who are marginated and repressed by the Castro government simply because they try to assist mass on Sundays. And also, if I could hand the Pope a list with the names of all current political prisoners in Cuba, I would”.
Soler’s audio (in Spanish):
(NOTE: The husband of Berta Soler, former political prisoner of conscience Angel Moya Acosta was violently detained this past Sunday, March 18th as he and other former political prisoner Eduardo Diaz Fleitas and another dissident accompanied the Ladies in White in their peaceful Sunday march. The three were taken away in police vehicles, and in the case of Fleitas and the other, they were released a few hours later that night. However, Moya was “disappeared” according to Soler, considering that during the afternoon hours of Tuesday, March 20th he had not yet been released and his whereabouts are still unknown. This is an urgent call to the world, denouncing what could happen with Angel Moya just days before Pope Benedict’s visit to the island. Moya has declared that the Pope should meet with the internal Cuban Resistance on numerous occasions.)