Cuba will release 2,900 prisoners because of the Pope’s visit to the island
Cuba, December 25, 2011
Cuba, will release 2,900 prisoners in the coming days for humanitarian reasons, including some convicted of crimes against ‘state security’, including 86 foreigners and excluding the U.S. Alan Gross.
In an official communicate, the government announced that the release is directly related to the visit of the Pope, but the prisoners would be released after numerous requests held by members of families and religious institutions.
Although, there was not included the American Alan Gross, who was held prisoner for 15 years accused of attacking the Cuban state security.
The government released more than 100 political prisoners in a deal brokered by the Catholic Church in 2010.
Pope Benedict XVI recently said he would visit Cuba and Mexico before Easter, which falls on April 8. It would be the second papal visit to the communist island since the historic visit of Pope John Paul II in 1998.
After that visit, in which the Pope had criticized the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, the Cuban government released about 300 prisoners, including 101 political prisoners. The others remained in jail for common crimes.