Cuba

Cuba’s Ladies in White leader meets Pope Francis

 
 
Pope Francis exchanges a greeting with Cuban dissident Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White, in the Vatican at St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, May 8., 2013.
Pope Francis exchanges a greeting with Cuban dissident Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White, in the Vatican at St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, May 8., 2013.

Miami Herald Staff

Pope Francis exchanged a brief greeting Wednesday with Cuban dissident Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White, in the Vatican at the end of a general audience held in St. Peter’s Square.

Soler is on a worldwide tour to publicize the plight of Cuban dissidents and to ask for moral and spiritual support to end repression in Cuba. The Ladies in White are a group of Cuban women who originally came together to march on behalf of their husbands and relatives rounded up during Cuba’s so-called Black Spring of 2003. After the men were freed, the women — who dress in white — continued to march on behalf of other political prisoners.

Soler handed the pope two letters from the wives of political prisoners, according to the French news agency AFP. Soler later told the media that the pope had given her a blessing and asked her to continue her fight.

During the visit of Pope Emeritus Benedict, then Pope Benedict XVI, to Cuba last year, the Ladies in White had asked to meet with him but were rebuffed — even though the pope took time for a meeting with former Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Prior to Benedict’s visit there also was friction between dissident groups, who wanted the church to take a more activist role in addressing their concerns, and Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega.

The Ladies in White met with Ortega last June and asked for his help on two fronts: interceding on their behalf with Cuban leader Raúl Castro in the face of stepped-up repression against the group and to pass on their request for an audience with the pope.

Read more Cuba stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category