Cuban bishops hopeful Vatican official’s visit will prompt more prisoner releases

.- The president of the Bishops’ Conference of Cuba, Bishop Dionisio Garcia, said Monday that he hopes more political prisoners in the country will be released following the recent visit to Cuba by Vatican Secretary of Relations with States, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.

The bishop expressed his hope to Reuters that the country's political prisoners, “who have not committed any act of violence” be released.

Bishop Garcia said he is confident that the talks which began in mid-April between high-ranking officials of the Catholic Church and the government were bolstered by the meeting between Archbishop Mamberti and Cuban president Raul Castro last Sunday.

“The fact that there were talks with (Cuban) officials is going to strengthen this process which we all hope will continue, because it will impact the good of the country,” he added.

Cuban media called the relations between the Church and the government “cordial, respectful, ongoing and improving,” after political prisoner Ariel Sigler Amaya was released and 12 other prisoners were moved to facilities closer to their families.  The move has given hope to the other nearly 200 political prisoners for their own releases.

The leader of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, Elizardo Sanchez, said other prisoners may be released in the coming days. “I am hopeful at least four others will be moved this week and some will be released.  This is a political decision that has already been made by the government,” he said. 

Likewise, Berta Soler of the Women in White said, “This visit was very positive because more of our family members are going to be released.


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