Friday, August 20, 2010

Exiling dissidents after jailing and torturing them unjustly is not "reform"

Three more Cuban political prisoners arrived in Madrid on Tuesday, bringing to 23 the number who have been released into exile under Cuba's pledge to free dissidents jailed there since 2003.

The three were among six dissidents Cuba's Roman Catholic Church said last week would be freed. The other three are due to arrive in Spain in the coming days.

The trio arrived by plane accompanied by some 15 family members and were taken to a hotel on Madrid's outskirts, where they were helped by Spanish Red Cross workers.

Twenty other dissidents were flown to Spain in separate groups last month.

The men are among 75 dissidents arrested in a March 2003 crackdown and sentenced to lengthy prison terms on charges that included treason.

And, jailing five more after you release three really isn't progress:

Five Cuban dissidents remained in custody 36 hours after a rare protest at the University of Havana, an iconic spot for airing grievances before the Castro revolution, activists said Tuesday.

"We are peaceful youths and defenders of human rights, demanding freedom and democracy for our country," Sara Martha Fonseca Quevedo is heard saying in a recording of the protest Monday morning before the group broke into chants of "Down with the Castros" and "Freedom."

The anti-Castro protest on the broad stone steps that lead up to the university campus were the first he could remember since the early 1960s, said human-rights activist Elizardo Sanchez Santacruz.

Before 1959, many anti-government protesters -- including Fidel Castro, then a law student -- gathered on the steps because police were legally barred from the campus. Castro ended the university's autonomy after he seized power.

Dissident Jorge Luis García Pérez "Antúnez" identified those arrested as Fonseca, Luis Enrique Labrador, Eduardo Pérez Flores, Yordanis Martinez Carvajal, and Michel Rodríguez Luis.

The Castros haven't changed. Cuba hasn't changed. No one should be fooled.

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