'Women in White' to request mediation from Vatican to free Cuban dissidents

.- Berta Soler, a member of the Women in White in Cuba, said this week that the group will ask the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, to provide mediation for the release of the country's prisoners of conscience when he travels to Cuba in mid-June.

The Women in White movement is comprised of the wives of Cuban political prisoners.

Speaking to reporters, Soler said, “the Vatican representative could influence the release of many people, not only political prisoners, but also common ones as well, as occurred during the visit by Pope John Paul II” in 1998.  On June 15, Archbishop Mamberti will open the 10th Catholic Social Week at the University of Havana, during which there will be a debate on the reality of Cuba between various Catholic and non-Catholic intellectuals.

After a peaceful march this past Sunday carried out by 60 Women in White in Havana, Soler said, “We are hopeful that even if all the remaining 53 men (out of the 75 imprisoned in 2003) are not released, at least the ones who are sick will be freed.”

Solar emphasized the “important role” that the Catholic Church is playing, referring to the mediation two weeks ago by Cardinal Jaime Ortega, who was able to lift the official prohibition against the Women in White from marching without an official permit.

Sunday’s march was led by Reina Tamayo, the mother of Orlando Zapata, who died February 23 after an 85 day-long hunger strike.

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