Sunday, August 22, 2010

Czech Republic offers to take in some released Cuban dissidents

Czech Republic offers to take in some released Cuban dissidents
Aug, 22, 2010 01:50 PM - EFE Ingles

Madrid, Aug 22 (EFE).- The Czech Republic made an offer to the Spanish
government and the Cuban Catholic Church to take in some of the
political prisoners who are scheduled to be released in the coming days
by the Castro regime.

Czech authorities are willing to provide political asylum to "two or
three" Cuban opposition figures and about a dozen of their closest
relatives, officials at the Czech Embassy in Spain told Efe.

Prague sent its proposal to Havana Archbishop Cardinal Jaime Ortega and
to the Spanish Foreign Ministry.

In addition to granting them political refugee status, the released
prisoners and their relatives who choose to go to the Czech Republic
would receive residency and work permission, economic aid and schooling
for their children.

"We're prepared to take them in, but it remains to be seen if this will
occur in practice," the Czech diplomats said.

The Cubans who travel to the Central European country would first go to
Madrid from Havana, in accord with the protocol established by the
Castro regime, the Catholic Church and the Spanish government.

That is what transpired in the case of Jose Ubaldo Izquierdo, who was
taken in as a political refugee by Chile, where he traveled after
remaining for 10 days in Madrid.

Other released prisoners taken in by Spain have expressed their desire
to go to the United States once all the documentation to do so is completed.

The Czech Republic, which does not have an embassy in Havana, is one of
the countries that traditionally has been the most critical of the
Castro regime.

The Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, in recent days defended
the release of Cuban political prisoners as a positive step, but one
that is insufficient to get the European Union to change its so-called
common position vis-a-vis Cuba because the Castro regime has not made
any deep reforms in its human rights policy.

The common European position, which has been in force since 1996, links
dialogue with the communist island to advances by Havana in democracy
and freedoms. EFE

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