U.S. Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Albio Sires (D-NJ), and David Rivera (R-FL) issued a joint statement expressing grave concern for Cuban protester Andres Carrion Alvarez, and calling on human rights groups to demand the release of all political prisoners in Cuba:
“Today, we learned the identity of the heroic protester who denounced the Cuban dictatorship with shouts of ‘Freedom!’ and ‘Down with communism!’ during Pope Benedict XVI’s mass in Santiago de Cuba on March 26, 2012. His name is Andres Carrion Alvarez, and he has been missing since we last saw him brutally punched and dragged away by state security agents operating in white uniforms with red crosses designed to resemble humanitarian workers of the Red Cross. But as footage of the incident reveals, there was nothing humanitarian about their mission.
The Pope turned a blind eye (link in Spanish) to all the dissidents. Bernadette Pardo, writing in El Nuevo Herald, writes that Univision anchorman Jorge Ramos commented to her that “this Pope turns his back on the victims, and meets with the victimizers.” Pardo adds,
To sit by Raul Castro and limit oneself to saying that Cuba and the world need change is a solemn insult to those who every day risk their lives to transform Cuban society.
There was another protestor taken away,
He has not been identified.
But, you can be sure the Castros are happy that the Pope ignored the human rights activists and the dissidents, bought into the embargo lie, and granted Fidel a half-hour long papal audience. By doing so, Benedict
Gen. Raúl Castro, the Cuban leader, and his brother Fidel Castro were able to portray the image, domestically and abroad, that they are not international pariahs who are shunned by many world leaders for running a police state that has not allowed a free election, political parties or independent media for more than five decades.
For the Castros, it was a win-win situation.
Too bad the Pope can’t see.