Monday, August 9, 2010

Can Raul Castro modernize and stabilize Cuba?

Washington Post
August 9, 2010

Cardinal Jaime Ortega's role as a broker of human rights in Cuba began with the Ladies in White. In April the archbishop of Havana was outraged when, for two successive Sundays, thugs of the Castro regime besieged the weekly march of women protesting on behalf of relatives who are political prisoners. Ortega dispatched a letter to President Raúl Castro saying that "for the church to tolerate this in silence would be an act of cowardice," he told me last week.

Ortega and other church leaders had sent many such letters to Raúl Castro and his brother Fidel over the years. What was different about this one, the cardinal says, is that he got an answer. Within a week, Raúl let him know that the Ladies in White would be allowed to continue their marches unmolested. Within a month, Ortega was at his first meeting with Raúl Castro, who began by telling him that he intended to release all of Cuba's political prisoners.