Sunday, March 18, 2012

More Than 70 Ladies in White Arrested

Sunday, March 18, 2012
On Friday, Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega gave the Castro regime the green-light to violate the sanctuary of the Church and physically remove 13 dissidents gathered there.

This shameful behavior has given the Castro regime the impunity to intensify its repressive sweep ahead of Pope Benedict XVI's visit.

From Reuters:

Cuba detains 70 'Ladies in White' ahead of pope visit

Cuban authorities detained about 70 members of the dissident group Ladies in White over the weekend, including 18 who staged its weekly Sunday march in the Cuban capital.

The 18 women, dressed in their customary white clothing, were rounded up and taken away in buses after they left their permitted route through Havana's Miramar neighborhood, said a Reuters cameraman on the scene.

Ladies in White member Magaly Norvis Otero Suarez told Reuters that 16 of the women were arrested Saturday evening when they attempted to stage a march in central Havana and another 36 were detained Sunday morning as they prepared to go to mass at Santa Rita Catholic Church, then stage their silent march along 5th Avenue, Miramar's main boulevard.

They had gathered at the home of their deceased leader Laura Pollan over the weekend to commemorate the anniversary of the arrest of 75 government opponents in March 2003 that gave rise to the organization, Otero said.

Human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez told Reuters that along with the estimated 70 women detained in Havana, another 12 dissidents were arrested in other provinces.

Cardinal Ortega Chooses Path of Pius XII

Saturday, March 17, 2012
Cuba's Cardinal Jaime Ortega has dishonored the memory of all the courageous priests throughout Eastern Europe, Africa and Central America that have risked and even lost their lives protecting dissidents from tyrants.

Instead, he's chosen the path of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (who later became Pope Pius XII), who signed the infamous Reichskonkordat between the Holy See and Nazi government, which solely guaranteed the "rights" of the Catholic Church in Germany.

According to the BBC:

Catholic dissidents evicted from Havana church

Cuban dissidents who had occupied a church in Havana to demand an audience with Pope Benedict when he visits later this month, have been evicted.

The group of 13 want the Pope to press Cuba's communist government on issues such as the release of political prisoners and an end to repression.

The protesters were removed from the Church of Charity in central Havana late on Thursday at the request of the city's Cardinal [Jaime Ortega].

And almost simultaneously, according to the AP:

The Vatican says Pope Benedict XVI will be available should Fidel Castro ask to meet with the pontiff when he visits Cuba later this month.

Asked about a possible Fidel Castro-pope meeting at a media briefing Friday, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said that if Castro "wants to, the pope will be available." Benedict arrives in Cuba from Mexico on March 26.

But not with Cuba's dissidents, of course.

It's clear where the Catholic Church's priorities stand.

No wonder Castro's Ambassador to the Holy See said yesterday that the regime and the Church are "speaking the same language."

Defiant North Korea says rocket launch to go ahead

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea on Sunday rejected criticism of its planned long-range missile launch which threatens to upset its only major benefactor, China, and put relations with the United States back in the freezer just as they seemed to be starting to thaw.
Political analysts say the launch, which would violate U.N. resolutions on the heavily sanctioned state, is aimed at boosting the legitimacy of its young new ruler Kim Jong-un who inherited power after his father's death in December.
"The peaceful development and use of space is a universally recognized legitimate right of a sovereign state," the North's state KCNA news agency said.
North Korea says it is using the rocket to launch a satellite to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, the country's founding ruler and grandfather of the current ruler.
The United States, and others, say it is much the same as a ballistic missile test and therefore off-limits for the isolated state which has for years been trying to build a nuclear arsenal.
Washington, which last month agreed to supply North Korea with food in exchange for a suspension of nuclear tests, missile launches and uranium enrichment and to allow nuclear inspectors into the country, called the planned launch "highly provocative".
More troubling perhaps for Pyongyang, which is long accustomed to trading invective with Washington, Beijing called the planned launch a "worry" in a rare attempt to put public pressure on its impoverished ally.
The North has invited foreign observers and journalists to attend the launch.
It announced the planned launch on Friday just weeks after the deal with Washington. It will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of its founder Kim Il-sung.
In April 2009, North Korea conducted a ballistic rocket launch that resulted in a new round of U.N. sanctions, squeezing the secretive state's already troubled economy and deepening its isolation.
That launch was dismissed as a failure after the first stage fell into the Sea of Japan without placing a satellite in orbit. Another test failed in similar circumstances in 1998.
The new launch is due to take place between April 12-16, to coincide with Kim Il-sung's centenary celebrations and will coincide with parliamentary elections in South Korea.
Japan has said it would consider deploying PAC3 missile interceptors as it did in a 2009 launch by North Korea.
(Reporting by Sung-won Shim; Editing by David Chance and Jonathan Thatcher)