According to AFP and various other news agencies, six or seven Cuban prisoners of conscience have been transferred to prisons closer to their homes. Most of the news agencies are crediting the meeting that took place between Cardinal Jaime Ortega and Cuba’s dictator Raul Castro as the impetus behind what is being touted as an unprecedented appeasement by the Cuban dictatorship towards dissidents.
Cuba moves political prisoners ‘closer to home’
By Isabel Sanchez (AFP)
HAVANA, Cuba — Cuba’s communist government started relocating political prisoners Tuesday closer to their families after church-government talks aimed at ending politically embarrassing hunger strikes, dissident and family sources said.
The action came after church-government talks launched May 19 aimed at ending hunger strikes in support of the political prisoners, which have become a major political embarrassment for President Raul Castro.
While this is good news for the seven prisoners of conscience and their families, it does nothing to change the fact that they still remain prisoners of a vile dictatorship. And while credit for this development is being given to Cardinal Ortega, whom since his ascension to the leadership position of the Catholic church in Cuba in 1981 has been at best acquiescent, and at worst complicit with the regime, the credit in reality goes to the Ladies in White, Guillermo Fariñas, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, and countless other dissidents in Cuba. It has been these dissidents, and not Cardinal Ortega, who have spilled blood and given their lives standing up to a tyrannical government and forcing the hand of the Cuban regime and the leadership of the Catholic church in Cuba.
It is no coincidence that this decision by the Cuban dictatorship comes only two weeks before the arrival of the Vatican’s foreign minister, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti. And I am afraid that the sacrifice made by Cuba’s dissidents with their blood and their lives will be ignored by the press and the Archbishop in favor of heralding the dictatorship’s humane transfers of prisoners who should have never been prisoners in the first place.
This latest move by the regime is not a move but in reality a rearrangement of chess pieces on a chess board. The Cuban regime is and remains the only player allowed to touch the pieces and decides the moves for both themselves and their opponents. Today the pieces have been moved into a more favorable position for the dissidents on the island, but tomorrow they will be moved again. And as long as the world and the church does not make much of a fuss, they will reposition the pieces when convenient for another checkmate against their opponent.