Cardinal de Richelieu -- immortalized as one of the main antagonists in Alexander Dumas' Three Musketeers -- was known as King Louis XIII's "Chief Minister" or "First Minister." As such, he worked tirelessly (and nefariously) to consolidate royal power and crush domestic factions in 17th century France.
Cuba's Cardinal Jaime Ortega appears to have chosen the same path.
We've stressed -- over and over -- that there have been no political prisoners released in Cuba, pursuant to the Cardinal's deal with the Castro regime this past July.
Of the 52 political prisoners originally announced for release, 39 have been banished to Spain, while the other 13 remain unjustly imprisoned for refusing banishment.
Cardinal Ortega has, thus, glossed over those 13 and began approaching other political prisoners -- not on the original list -- who would accept banishment.
Therefore, last week, the Cardinal spoke to Rafael Ibarra Roque -- a Cuban political prisoner held since 1994 for founding the "Frank Pais November 30" opposition movement -- and offered him the possibility of release "only and if he would leave for Spain."
Ibarra responded that he'd obviously like to be released, but that "he would not swap prison for banishment."
The next day, a Cuban State Security officer informed him that the Cardinal's offer had been revoked.
Ibarra denounced the Cardinal's blatant "blackmail" and "collaboration" with the Castro regime.
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