Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Spain asks Cuba to grant free travel to dissidents

Spain asks Cuba to grant free travel to dissidents
HAVANA Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:13pm EST

(Reuters) - Spain's foreign minister asked Cuba on Tuesday to grant free
travel rights to dissidents arrested in the "black spring" of 2003 and
released years later under strict conditions.

Spain mediated historic talks between the Cuban government and the Roman
Catholic Church that freed 75 political opponents in 2010 and 2011. They
had been sentenced in summary trials to terms ranging from 6 to 28 years.

Cuba granted exile to 63 on the condition they be barred from returning,
and most went to Spain. Twelve others who refused to leave jail under
those conditions were released on parole and prohibited from leaving the
Caribbean island.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo told reporters at
the conclusion of a two-day visit to Cuba that he requested that the 12
"be authorized to travel outside of Cuba."

"At the same time, I have requested that those released from jail in
2011 on parole who are currently in Spain be authorized to travel to
Cuba," Garcia-Margallo said in a prepared statement and without taking
questions from reporters.

Former President Fidel Castro's crackdown on dissidents in 2003 became
known as the "black spring" and strained Cuban relations with Western
powers. The dissidents were released after Castro became ill and handed
power to his brother Raul Castro, at first provisionally in 2006 and
definitively in 2008.

(Reporting by Nelson Acosta; Editng by Daniel Trotta and Andre Grenon)

Source: Spain asks Cuba to grant free travel to dissidents | Reuters -

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