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Dissident: Cuban gov't "desperate" to improve its image


Miami, May 20 (EFE).- The leader of the Cuban opposition group Ladies in White, Berta Soler, said here Monday that the Cuban government is "desperate" to improve its image abroad and would not have allowed acknowledged dissidents to leave the island were it not for international pressure.

"We're here thanks to international pressure. The Cuban government is desperate. It wants to give a different picture of Cuba to the international community," said Soler on Cuban Independence Day at a press conference in Miami.

At the emblematic Freedom Tower, the dissident said that being allowed to leave Cuba enables her to bring "the reality of Cuba, of the Cuban dissident movement and the Ladies in White" to different places around the world, including The Vatican.

There, she met with Pope Francis, from whom she requested "aid for the people of Cuba."

"I bring the blessings of Pope Francis and I bring them to the people of Cuba," she said.

At the press conference, Soler said that in Cuba "there is no independence, there are no freedoms" and therefore dissidents are traveling abroad "in search of support."

She said changes that are occurring in Cuba are merely "cosmetic" and do not solve the country's problems because when all is said and done the current regime is "the same dog with a different collar."

Soler and other dissidents on Monday will attend several events to celebrate Cuban Independence Day.