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 Yonart Rodríguez Ávila , activist from the Eastern Democratic Alliance and Active Cuban Youth United (JACU)
“I would tell him [Pope Benedict XVI] that he see the reality of Cuba, the precarious situations which everyday Cubans live through. And that right now, the level of repression against civil society and the internal opposition is dramatically increasing. There are police operations throughout countless neighborhoods. If he really is God’s representative on earth, or if he is the maximum Catholic authority, I ask him to intercede for the Ladies in White, the dissidents, and all people who want a positive change for their families and their country so that repression against them comes to an end”.
Yonart Rodriguez Avila tends to be victim of police repression in Cuba due to her activism in favor of human rights throughout the streets of Velazco, Holguin, his area of residence. Recently, his mother, the Lady in White Mariblanca Avila Exposito was violently arrested and disappeared by the forces of the Cuban regime. The only “crime” which this family has committed is to demand immediate freedom for all Cubans.