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Calls to Cuban dissidents rerouted to Castro Interior Ministry

Juan Tamayo reports how during the pope's visit to Cuba earlier this week, the sinister Castro dictatorship rerouted calls made to Cuban dissidents to their Interior Ministry:

Cuba diverts dissidents' phone numbers in pope crackdown

Cuba's Interior Ministry doesn't have to be subtle when it represses dissidents. In charge of the communist-ruled country's domestic security, it can do just about anything it wants.

But its brazenness hit a high this week when one of its telephone numbers was openly listed as being part of the crackdown that blocked the cell phones of hundreds of dissidents during Pope Benedict XVI's three-day visit.

Cell phones affected clearly showed that calls to the dissidents were diverted to 204-1234, a Havana number listed to Unit 9456-3 of the Interior Ministry, known as MININT, at the corner of 60th and 19th Avenues in the western district of Playa.

United 9456-3 was listed as a branch of a MININT office building in Linea and Paseo Avenues in the Vedado district, a block or two from the main headquarters of the ministry's Intelligence Directorate, similar to the Soviet Union's KGB.

Neighbors reported the Linea and Paseo building holds offices for counterintelligence and state security agents - the political police, according to Calixto Ramon Martinez, the independent journalist who broke the story Friday.

Martinez and Roberto de Jesus Guerra, members of the independent Hablemos Press news agency, said they had confirmed the diversion in their own cell phones and those of 16 other dissidents whose service had been restored as of Friday.

El Nuevo Herald confirmed the number 204-1234 is listed to Unit 9456-3 in a digital list of sensitive Cuban government telephone numbers that was obtained by journalists and others last year. Repeated calls to that number went unanswered.

Cuban authorities in the past have blocked the cell phones of individual or groups of dissidents when important events took place, presumably to keep the opposition activists' information from reaching supporters and journalists abroad.

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