The release of political prisoners progresses in Cuba
On Tuesday, nine political prisoners arrived to Spain and joined the ones who had arrived last week, as was announced by Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos. “Next Tuesday will arrive nine other political prisoners” said Moratinos.
There were already released a total of 20 of the 52 that the Cuban government had planned to release, which has become the greatest number in a long time. The Spanish government decided to support political prisoners who had shown themselves in agreement on travel to Spain.
The releases were announced by the government of Raul Castro after the visit of Spanish Foreign Minister who played as an intermediary for the release of dissidents.
The incarcerations that occurred during the so-called “Black Spring 2003″ provoked a strong reaction from the European Union. With the releases in recent weeks there only remain imprisoned 115 political prisoners.
Newcomers have been granted with the status of “international protection assisted”, which caused many of them asked for the status of “refugees.” But officials said that such state allows them to live and work in Spain and also can return to Cuba while being refugees could not. Refugee status would deprive them from the political activity, while this status doesn’t.
Others criticized the conditions in which they have been received and housed and complained that they did not receive effective health care. Moratinos asked for compression of former political prisoners and stressed the generosity of the Spanish people. But he said that they are free to seek any other better host country.
He stated that “all have traveled to Spain voluntarily.”
Finally, the Spanish foreign minister said that the releases represent “a new Cuban government that will end the issue of political prisoners” and that “we must exploit the situation to redefine a new relationship between the European Union and Cuba.”