Saturday, February 16, 2008

Political prisoner release [Updated] [x2]

Following the second round of talks on human rights between Spain and Cuba, but in a decision Madrid termed “unilateral” on Cuba’s part, four Cuban dissidents were released from jail and were to travel to Spain last night, and three more are to be freed soon.

At Uncommon Sense, there’s a summary with bio information. Reuters coverage here, with comments by dissidents Oscar Espinosa Chepe and Manuel Cuesta Morua, both looking at the bright side. Martha Beatriz Roque, meanwhile, tells the Miami Herald that Spain’s government, facing elections next month, is playing the Cuba issue for electoral purposes, and its position makes her “nauseous.”

[Update: Press reports saying that early Sunday morning, four were on their way to Spain; they were to travel in a plane sent by the Spanish government; and that the Spanish government was going to ensure that there was no publicity upon their arrival so it could occur “with the greatest possible discretion.”]

[Update: According to several accounts, the choice that was offered was to get out of jail and leave Cuba, or to remain in jail. “Heart-rending,” according to Pedro Pablo Alvarez Ramos, who traveled to Spain with his sister and several nephews; it was “very difficult to say ‘yes,’” he said. The Damas de Blanco reacted by recognizing and appreciating Spain’s efforts, and hoping that this marks the “beginning of the unconditional freedom” for the rest of Cuba’s political prisoners.]


Anonymous said...

Hmm, I guess engagement may bear some fruits.

I bet those 7 prisoners(and their families) aren't "pissed" at Spain's working framework with cuba.

Anonymous said...

where does it end, amigo, where does it end???

Anonymous said...

Marta-Beatriz-Roque is the Cuban counterpart of Ileana Ros-Lehtinan. Whenever the Cuban government makes good gestures, the hardliners will never be satisfied.

Anonymous said...

Those Cubans should have received an amnesty and allowed to remain in Cuba, if they so desired, or allowed to seek medical treatment in Spain and then come back to Cuba or receive that treatment in Cuba. After all, Cuba offers medical care to foreigners. As things stand now, their liberation is equivalent to a deportation. It is exile.