More Doubts than Optimism

While some prisoners of the Black Spring of 2003, like Pablo Pacheco and Adolfo Fernandez Sainz, have their optimism levels up in the clouds, there is much more caution amongst the feelings of the Ladies in White.  In fact, there is much pessimism.

The doctor Lidia Lima, wife of the prisoner of conscience Arnaldo Ramos (an 68-year-old economist- one of the oldest political prisoners) has her doubts.

For Lidia the transfer of Arnaldo to the 1580 prison in the municipality of San Miguel del Padron in Havana is a relief.  The Ramos family resides in the capital and the trips to Santi Spiritus (about 400 kilometers from Havana) were always difficult and painful journeys for her and her two sons.

According to what Arnaldo told his wife during her latest visit, the food has improved.  However, he now resides in a galley full of very old men who suffer from mental illnesses.  At this very moment Lidia has more desire than faith.  She prefers not to fool herself with the idea that her husband could be one of the prisoners that will be liberated thanks to the visit of Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican’s chancellor.

This sentiment of doubt prevails amongst other Ladies in White.  The government of the Castro brothers has found itself at a crossroads.  If there is something that has defined them during these last 51 years it is that they do not like to give up any of their power.  The difficult political situation, the amount of international pressure, especially that of the US and the EU, has put them in a very uncomfortable spot.

It is very well known that with just a phone call from one of the Castros to the high ranking members of the Ministry of the Interior, the 56 prisoners left from the Black Spring, or the more than 200 political prisoners that still remain behind bars, could immediately be released.

If Fidel Castro took a few weeks to detain and judge 75 people only for opposing or writing without a mandate, freeing them would be a breeze, that is if the regime wanted to do it.  In Cuba, such situations are not solved in parliament.  They are personal decisions.

The ball is already rolling in South Africa.  The World Cup could be a good moment to free some political prisoners.  Some are in very poor states of health, like Ariel Sigley Amaya, who is practically paralyzed.

It was in the beginning of the war in Iraq, on March 18, 2003, that the one and only commander unleashed an oppressive wave against groups of dissidents and independent journalists in order to minimize the impact of such news.

Now, the regime of Havana could opt to try a military strategy.  The planet is focused on soccer.  At least that is what Pablo Pacheco thinks.  If you ask the family members, they’re not that optimistic.

Ivan Garcia

Photo:  Martha Beatriz Roque.  Ladies in White outside the Santa Rita Church on Sunday, June 6th.

Translated by Raul G.