Cuban Catholic Cardinals discussed release of political prisoners with Castrist Regime.
Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega
Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega said Thursday he and the government are “seriously” discussing the release of political prisoners but added that he could not talk about specifics.
“I cannot provide any conclusions on concrete dates, concrete actions with respect to the prisoners. I can say that the issue is being discussed seriously,” Ortega told a news conference in Havana.
Ortega’s comments came one day after he met with Cuban leader Raúl Castro amid speculation that the government would soon release at least some of the 26 jailed dissidents reported to be in ill health. Cuba holds an estimated 190 political prisoners.
“The church is interested in a general easing of the situation of the prisoners … including not only the sick, but the sick in first place,” he said, adding, “With respect to the sick, we expect it.”
His measured statements were in contrast to the more optimistic comments made earlier Thursday by Mnsgr. Dionisio Garcia, head of the Bishops’ Conference and bishop of Santiago, who also attended the four-hour meeting with Castro.
“That issue was discussed, and I believe that there’s willingness from both sides. I wish it would be resolved … I believe it will be,” García told the AFP news agency.
Cuba’s state news media gave unusual front-page display to the four-hour meeting, with both national newspapers prominently displaying stories and photographs of Ortega and Castro. Church leaders last met with the president of Cuba five years ago — at the time Fidel Castro.
Havana human-rights activist Elizardo Sanchez remained skeptical, saying,…. READ MORE HERE