Seven released Cuban political prisoners on their way to forced exile

Seven political prisoners who were the first to be released under the deal negotiated with the dictatorship by the government of Spain and the Catholic Church boarded two planes yesterday afternoon with their families to begin their forced exile in Spain.

Juan O. Tamayo of the Herald has the story:

Seven Cuban political prisoners freed; flown to Madrid

The first seven political prisoners freed by Cuba left for Spain Monday after police escorted them from prison to the airport and a reunion with relatives — including one who donned the same white dress she wore during protests by the Ladies in White.

The seven ex-prisoners and about 40 relatives boarded Iberia and Air Europa jetliners for the flight to Madrid, according to media reports from Havana and Spain.

Among them were dissident Julio Gálvez and his wife Irene Viera, who wore the same gauzy white dress she has worn almost every Sunday during marches by the Ladies in White demanding the release of male relatives jailed since 2003.

“The car to take her to airport picked her at up at 4 (pm) on the nose, and she wore the same white dress,” her brother, Luis Cataneo, told El Nuevo Herald by telephone from Havana. She also took articles published by Gálvez, an independent journalist sentenced to 15 years.

Spanish foreign ministry authorities identified the seven as Gálvez; Ricardo Gonzalez Alfonso, another journalist serving 20 years; Pablo Pacheco; Omar Ruiz; Antonio Villareal; José Luis García Paneque; and Léster González.

Further into the article, Tamayo does an excellent job of addressing the issue of forced exile and the decision by some of these dissidents to not accept banishment from their own country. Two very important and relevant issues that the Church and the Spanish government prefer not to address:

Catholic church officials in Havana, meanwhile, announced that a total of 20 jailed have agreed to leave for Spain as part of an agreement by the Raúl Castro government to free the last 52 dissidents of the 75 jailed during a 2003 crackdown known as the island’s Black Spring.

At least six others have refused the offer of exile, said Laura Pollán, spokeswoman for the Ladies in White — female relatives of the 52 who have staged weekly protests in Havana demanding the release of their men. There was no word on the decisions of the other 26.

Human rights activists complained the government was keeping the dissidents in prison until the last minute so it could put psychological pressure on them to leave the island instead of staying and continuing their opposition work.


Church officials have said that any departures will be voluntary, but gave no details on the process.

Speaking to reporters in Spain, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos did not refer to the complaints of forced exile and said the important thing was Castro’s decision to “definitively” end the issue of political prisoners in Cuba.

As days continue to pass and more of these 52 dissidents refuse to be forcibly exiled, more details of the secret negotiations that decided the fate of 52 Cubans, none of which were allowed to voice an opinion as to their future and the future of their families, will eventually come to light.

4 thoughts on “Seven released Cuban political prisoners on their way to forced exile”

  1. Every single time that Moratino opens his mouth, you realize just how vile he is. He says:

    “Miguel Angel Moratinos did not refer to the complaints of forced exile and said the important thing was Castro’s decision to “definitively” end the issue of political prisoners in Cuba.”

    So, this will definitely end the issue of political prisoners in Cuba? I guess that the regime will just dismantle all of the archaic and draconian laws in the book that make any Cuban citizens guilty even before they commit “crimes.” [i.e. read exercise their rights as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights]

    All that I can say is what a piece of human excrement!

  2. Rayarena, you took the words right out of my mouth! So just move along folks, nothing happening here, and there is no longer problem with doing business in Cuba, you see they let all the prisoners go. Vile beyond belief. Where’s Dr. Biscet? I haven’t heard his press release enjoying his newfound freedom and rights.

  3. Moratinos is indeed vile, but he’s only a symptom, a tool. There’s a whole government behind him, a whole culture of anything-for-money businessmen, and all the Spanish voters who put (and have kept) his government in office and have allowed those commercial vultures to rape Cuba with impunity. Would the Spanish people be OK with the same thing being done with a country like Chile under Pinochet? If not, why the hell not? What’s the difference? Well, the difference is that losing Chile wasn’t the last nail in the coffin of Spain’s empire, that the hated Americans didn’t help free it, and that a left-wing tyranny is clearly treated as far less objectionable, if at all, than a right-wing regime, despite the obvious hypocrisy involved. So don’t hate Moratinos per se; hate what makes him possible.

  4. Asombra- Exactly, and that is why there was no way I could root for Spain’s team in the WC, any more than one could root for a German team during the Nazi era.

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