Friday, May 21, 2010

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Cuba ready to resolve political prisoners issue: Church

AFP May 21, 2010, 1:25 pm
HAVANA (AFP) - President Raul Castro is ready to consider resolving the thorny issue of Cuba's jailing of political dissidents, though talk about releasing them was off the table for now, a Catholic Church official said.
"This issue was talked about and I believe both sides are ready and want to resolve it and we hope this will be done. I believe this will be done," Cuba's Episcopal Conference leader Archbishop Dionisio Garcia said after an unprecedented discussion with Castro on Wednesday.
Asked whether the talks might lead to an agreement to free the political prisoners, Garcia responded cautiously.
"There will be a process and this process has to start with small steps and these steps will be made," he told AFP.
"We hope that the conversation will go in that direction."
Garcia was accompanied at the meeting in Castro's office by Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega, who also said the "positive meeting" with the president raised hopes of a breakthrough.
Ortega said that while "we hope" political dissidents will be released, "regarding the sick ones, we expect it," for humanitarian reasons.
Dissident groups say there are more than 200 political prisoners held in Cuban jails. Amnesty International considers 65 of them as prisoners of conscience.
Cuba denies it holds any political prisoners and calls dissidents "mercenaries" funded by the United States and a conservative Cuban-American "mafia."
Several of the detainees have gone on a hunger strike and are in poor health. Orlando Zapata died in jail in February after not eating for 85 days.
The Catholic Church has pressed Castro's Communist regime on the issue, without, however, resorting to confrontation.
It has persuaded authorities to drop a ban on a group of wives and female relatives of jailed dissidents known as the Damas de Blanco (the Ladies in White) holding a public march calling for their loved ones to be released.
Garcia described the talks with Castro as "very cordial" and ranging across several topics "of common interest."
Ortega said the Ladies in White were also discussed at the meeting.
The Cuban government's mouthpiece newspaper Granma noted the meeting but did not mention the political prisoners issue.
It said Castro and the two Church officials spoke on "various subjects" including "the favorable development of relations between the Catholic Church and the Cuban state."
The meeting came ahead of a June 16-20 visit by the Vatican's official in charge of foreign relations, Monsignor Dominique Mamberti, who is scheduled to meet Cuban leaders on the occasion of 75 years of ties between the Communist island and the Holy See, and to head a Catholic "social week."
In 1998, when the late pope John Paul II made the only visit to Cuba by a pontiff, then-president Fidel Castro released more than 300 political and ordinary prisoners.

Demonstrators protesting the presence of Cuban officials Summit EU-Latin America and the Caribbean

Regret attending the Summit of the Minister Island Affairs Bruno Rodriguez
A group of Cuban dissidents held on Wednesday action protest in Madrid by the fact that the government of Cuba allowed at the Summit of the EU-Latin America and the Caribbean "to criticize the  European democracy without acknowledging that Cuba does not even exist.''
So said one of the assistants, Cesar Gonzalez-Rivera lamented that "in Honduras, a country that called for democratic elections and has elected new president, not been allowed to tread the same red carpet to the emissaries of the dictatorship.''
Honduran President Porfirio Lobo, did not participate in the Summit to the veto of some countries such as Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador, who do not recognize its legitimacy as successor to Manuel Zelaya overthrown in June by a military coup.
González Rivera and other assistants, all members of the  Platform Cuba Democracy Now, the unfurled several banners Madrid statue dedicated to Christopher Columbus in the center of the city.
Another member of the Platform, Yuniel Jacomino, lamented the presence at the summit "a representative of the Cuban dictatorship,''in  reference to Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, "which even criticized democracy in Spain, "he said looking at the mote in the eye  outside without removing the beam that is in itself.''
Jacomino said he and his teammates spent their protest to the "More than two hundred political prisoners who are on the island and the Ladies'' Blanco, calling for his release.
S: cubaencuentro

Havana functions as an alternative center of the Colombian Guerrillas of the FARC

Havana serves as a center Alternate Colombian guerrillas of the FARC, according to an article published in Bogota newspaper El Espectador, citing a source  intelligence report. After reveal the existence of 28 camps and one thousand five hundred combatants FARC in the territory of Venezuela, the report goes into detail about the  strategic implications of the terrorist group's presence Cuba. According to the document, two FARC delegates were between 3 and 17 last August in Havana, where they pledged to work in terms of organizing marches in Miami and New York against the trade embargo on the island and for the release of five Cuban spies imprisoned in the USA.
Jathumbmail (off)To do this, Liliana López Palacio, Olga alias Marin, one of the FARC guerrilla who traveled to Cuba in the date, "has a monthly contribution of $ 5,000 entered in Cuban accounts "apparently from a state enterprise Venezuela, the report said.
The Spectator also reports the 500 terrorists moving to Honduras with the purpose of destabilize the government installed after the departure of Tegucigalpa Honduras President Manuel Zelaya of deposed.
The newspaper said that after the death of Raul Reyes, one of the principal leaders of the FARC,  terrorist group's activities gained momentum in Cuba.
Six months later - was quoted as saying -  Three guerrillas of the FARC, Ovidio Salinas and Jose Rodrigo Granda Valerio Méndez met at the headquarters of the Organization of Solidarity  with the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America in Havana to agree to create a coordinator of pro Colombia overseas. "
The agreement states that Espectador with the 16-page secret report "illegal forces with alinderadas FARC used Cuba as a platform to strengthen the Movement Continental Bolivarian. "
S: La Nueva Cuba - Cuban First Independent Newspaper on the Internet

The archbishop of Havana and Santiago has been asked to "alleviate" the situation of some inmates and dissidents
Pulse para ver el video
Photograph of the meeting held between the president of Cuba, Raul Castro, with the Church. / Photo: Efe I Video: Atlas
Raul Castro the Church is negotiating with an outlet for political prisoners in Cuba. The  Archbishops of Havana and Santiago have asked him to "relieve" the situation of some prisoners and dissidents. The mediation of one of the Cardinals served for the Cuban government authorized marches Damas de Blanco, mothers and wives of the prisoners.