The Ladies in White, the group of women relatives of the 75 Cuban opposition activists imprisoned during the repressive wave of the spring of 2003 (Cuba’s Black Spring), stated today they will continue [to be] active while there is one political prisoner in the island.

Laura Pollán, spokesperson for the women’s group told journalists that “as long as there is one political prisoner and of conscience, there will be Ladies in White. That was our promise from the beginning, and we the Ladies will keep that word.”

Some 40 wives, mothers and other relatives [of the political prisoners] attended Mass at the [Catholic] Church of Saint Rita de Cassia, in La Habana. Later, they marched, and then prayed kneeling in front of the temple as a thanksgiving for the release of the political prisoners.

Regarding the current situation of some of the 52 [remaining] prisoners whose release and trip to Spain alongside their relatives has been announced by the Catholic Church this week, Pollán stated that 20 out of the 26 asked yesterday, are willing to leave the country, and six “have stated that no, that they will stay in their motherland.”

According to Pollán, this morning, they telephoned some of the prisoners that have been transferred to the Combinado del Este prison (in La Habana) where there are already 11 (of the ones slotted to travel to Spain), and were told that some of their relatives are at a military institute near the “Valle Grande” prison doing travel paperwork.

“This is real, and it feels us with hope because at least half are already being processed [to travel], [but] I cannot say what will happen with the last (prisoner).”

Among the political prisoners asked [about their willingness to leave the country] are Jesús Mustafá, from Santiago de Cuba, José Daniel Ferrer, Pedro Argüelles, Regis Iglesias, Eduardo díaz Fleitas and Arnaldo Ramos

The Ladies in White’s leader stated that she does not know “what will happen with them, if they will be imprisoned until the last minute or will be released in the upcoming days, but at least we have the hope that they are all going to be freed.”

Regarding the legal status of the released prisoners, Pollán said that “neither the Church, nor the government have said anything to us, we cannot say (…) if it is a [forced] exile for them, although it has been said that their relatives can return, and they will be able to preserve their properties.”

The government of Raúl Castro has promised to free gradually, and in a four-month long timeframe to release 52 political prisoners, within the context of a dialog opened with the Catholic Church hierarchy in the island, a process supported by Spain that will receive all the [prisoners] from this group that wish to travel to that country.

These 52 oppositionists are the ones that remain in prison from the “Group of 75” that were sentenced to [anywhere] between 6 and 28 years [in prison].”

The Cuban Catholic Church said on Saturday that out of those 52, it will be 17 the first ones to be freed, and travel to Spain.

On that topic, Pollán said that the Archbishop of La Habana, the principal interlocutor in the dialog between the Church and the government, has not spoken to the Ladies since 2 July.

However, she said that the group “has some questions, and it would be interesting” to be able to speak with him so that he can transmit them to the government and they can be answered.

In Pollán’s opinión, what has happened until now “is a good beginning” that “windows are being opened” and their only request is that after their relatives are released “they don’t put others in [jail].”

This article appeared originally in Spanish. This is our translation.

for the freedom of all cuban political prisoners
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