Dissidents opposed to Cuba’s regime were arrested when they tried approaching Pope Francis in Havana on Sunday, an activist group reported. The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba identified the dissidents as Patriotic Union of Cuba members Zaqueo Baéz, Boris Reni, Aymara Nieto Muñoz and Maria Josefa Acon Sardiña, who is also a member of the Ladies in White, a peaceful protest group founded by female relatives of Cuban political prisoners.
Members of the Cuban dissident group Ladies in White collected Tuesday the Sakharov Prize that the European Parliament awarded them in 2005, and in the process had harsh words to say about the situation in their homeland.
Cuba released 70 members of the dissident Ladies in White group detained during the weekend but warned them not to attend activities related to next week's visit of Pope Benedict, the group's leader said.
Cuban authorities detained on Sunday about 70 members of the dissident group Ladies in White, drawing fresh attention to human rights issues days ahead of a visit by Pope Bendict XVI.
Laura Pollán, one of the founders of the Cuban dissident group Ladies in White, has died in a Havana hospital at the age of 63, fellow dissidents on Friday.
Leaders of the dissident group Ladies in White asked the Catholic Church on Tuesday to intervene before the Cuban government to end what they described as violent acts against them and other human rights activists.
Cuban government supporters harassed a group of dissidents who met at a home in Havana to commemorate the eighth anniversary of a sweeping crackdown on dissent.
Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas said on Sunday that the Catholic Church notified him that Raul Castro’s regime on Monday will begin taking “preliminary steps” regarding ill political prisoners and that a meeting is scheduled for this week “to speak about releases”.
Roman Catholic Cardinal Jaime Ortega announced Sunday he managed to convince Cuban authorities to lift the month-long ban on street protests by “Ladies in White”—the wives and mothers of political prisoners.