Ladies in White

Church Protects Protestors in Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, MAY 3, 2010 ( A group of wives and mothers
protesting the imprisonment of their loved ones in Cuba have been given
permission to continue their marches.

The group, known as the "Ladies in White," carried out their weekly
protest last Sunday, as they have for seven years. They have been
marching since the government's wave of in 2003 during which
75 dissidents were jailed. The majority are still in . The marches
have been the only known public protest allowed by the authorities since
the beginning of the 60s.

For the previous two weeks, the women had been harassed to stop their
marches, with the threat of a harsh suppression if they did not choose
to cease.

The "leniency" now being shown to the Ladies in White is due at least in
part to intervention from Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, archbishop of

He reported to the press that he asked the government not to repeat the
"painful events" of the previous two Sundays.

The cardinal said he would not call the response a "new flexibility,"
but affirmed that "it is very good that such a gesture is made."

Cardinal Ortega y Alamino described the Ladies in White as "persons who
deserve respect, a special consideration."

He told the press that after a week as "intermediary" between the Ladies
in White and the Cuban government, "I find myself here somewhat as the
guarantor that they are going to do this as they usually" have for seven

Laura Pollan, the leader of the Ladies in White, said that the
government's decision to allow them to march was a "small victory" that
she attributed to "tenacity, perseverance, reason and above all love."

"Here, love has triumphed, love for our relatives and love for God,"
said Pollan.

Meanwhile Cuban Guillermo Fariñas, on hunger strike for the
past 68 days, spoke of the decision as an "encouraging sign."

"I believe this is an encouraging sign that the real conflict that
exists between various political tendencies in Cuba does not have to end
precisely in acts of bashing and killings," he said on the telephone
from the where he is interned in Santa Clara.

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