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Cuban prelate saves dissidents from police violence

Catholic World News - February 21, 2012

A Cuban archbishop has helped a group of female dissidents escape the threat of beatings from police.

After the “Ladies in White” demonstrated for the release of political prisoners, 14 of the women reported that they had received threats from the police, and asked for safety in the basilica of Our Lady of Cobre. At least 33 members of the Ladies in White were arrested at other sites during the weekend.

When the women inside the basilica revealed that they were receiving threatening text messages from police officers surrounding the building, Archbishop Dionisio Garcia Ibanez of Santiago de Cuba arrived with two vans, and escorted the women through the police lines.

The incident illustrates both the continuing repression of political dissent in Cuba and the growing influence of the Catholic Church as a buffer between political protesters and the government.

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