ON-Lion Letter
In March, former Polish President Lech Walesa wrote Pope Benedict XVI a letter urging him to "take up the defense of those Cubans who are demanding freedom" during his visit to the communist-ruled island.  "I beg Your Holiness to intercede for those who are in prison because of their convictions," wrote Walesa, a former dissident who headed the Solidarity labor movement that helped oust Poland's communist government.

"I implore Your Holiness to take up the defense of those Cubans who are demanding freedom at the risk of persecutions and humiliation," he added in the letter, released by the Warsaw-based Lech Walesa Institute, which is supported by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee.

In his letter, Walesa also recalled that Pope John Paul II's visit to his native Poland in 1979 had a powerful impact on the strongly Catholic nation, under communist rule since the Soviet military occupation that followed World War II.  The visit "not only awakened in us, the Polish people, the hope of change but above all freed our will to take action," he wrote.

"I remain hopeful that Your Holiness' visit will contribute to positive changes in the life of the Cuban nation," Walesa wrote.  "I trust that it will open a new chapter in the history of Cuba and that authorities there will start a dialogue with Cuban society."
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