Cuban economist who became dissident dies in Spain
Oscar Espinosa Chepe, a Cuban economist for the Castro regime who later became a dissident and was on of the 75 dissidents arrested during the Black Spring of 2003 died in Spain from a liver ailment.
Oscar Espinosa Chepe, Cuban economist-turned-dissident, dies in Spain at age 72
HAVANA - Oscar Espinosa Chepe, a high-level Cuban economist and diplomat who broke with Fidel Castro's government in the 1990s and was imprisoned for dissident activities, died in Spain Monday. He was 72 and had been hospitalized for a liver ailment.
Espinosa died in Fuenfria Hospital in Cercedilla, just north of Madrid, according to The Cuban Human Rights Observatory. The group said he had been in Spain since March receiving treatment.
Espinosa was one of 75 writers and political activists locked up in 2003 during the Black Spring, a notorious crackdown on dissent that provoked international criticism and EU sanctions lasting five years.
Little known at the time of his imprisonment, Espinosa was sentenced to 20 years but released after 19 months on medical humanitarian grounds, on his 64th birthday.
By then his name was more familiar, in part thanks to the work of his wife, fellow dissident Miriam Leiva, who helped found the Ladies in White protest group to press for their husbands' release.
Espinosa said the government had made a mistake by locking him and the others up, and vowed they would not be silenced. The Cuban government frequently accuses island dissidents of accepting money from Washington to undermine the government, but Espinosa frequently denied being a "mercenary."
"We are non-violent people who have not committed any crime," he told reporters in November 2004 at his and Leiva's tiny Havana apartment, always overflowing with the books, papers and statistical reports they used to write about Cuba's complex and troubled economy.
Espinosa had suffered from liver problems for years and in the early 2000s was diagnosed with cirrhosis. He was hospitalized with liver troubles in August 2012.
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