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Ladies In White - Travel Blocked
Tuesday, December 13, 2005   By: Juan Paxety

Travel ban by fidel

Cuba's Ladies In White - the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of fidel's political prisoners have been told they cannot travel to Europe to receive a prestigious award.

The Ladies organized after 75 pro-democracy activists and independent journalists were imprisoned about three years ago. The Ladies wear white during their every Sunday demonstrations, and they are frequently attacked by castro's street thugs.

In October, the Ladies were honored with the Sakharov prize. The prize was created in 1988 and is given out once a year by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament to the persons or organizations that best serve democracy, human rights and freedom of the press. At the time the award was announced, Cecilia Malmström, a member of Parliament said

The publicity that this prize is bringing is unvaluable for these brave, peaceful ladies supporting their imprisoned husbands. In their situation they need all the support from the outside world they can get. This again shows that the situation on Cuba is extremely serious and that the EU has to take action.

Now, reports that Cuban authorities say the Ladies cannot travel to Strasbourg to receive their award.

The group's representatives were planning to come to Strasbourg to pick up the prize and voice their concerns to the European audience, but the communist regime has prevented them from traveling.

"We have been in touch with them and they have not received the official travel permit on Monday", said Ivana Kullova from the Slovak NGO, People in Peril.

The European people who formerly suffered under communism seem to best understand the problems of the Cuban people. Women, politicians and diplomats in the Czech Republic and Slovakia have gathered signatures on petitions asking fidel to allow the women to travel to Europe. The Ladies are also trying to get a European diplomatic delegation to take them to the award ceremony.

The U.S. comes under a great deal of criticism for restricting travel to Cuba. Where are the folks who want to see travel freedom now? Of course, they may not know about the Ladies' problems because no outlet other than the above cited news source is reporting this.



(c)1968- today j.e. simmons or michael warren