A visit by European diplomats to the home of a jailed dissident in Cuba has angered the Cuban government.
Havana calls it meddling, and says the incident threatens recently renewed EU-Cuba dialogue. The Europeans said the communist authorities might be trying a new way to keep opposition down.
Darsi Ferrer organized gatherings to support human rights. He was arrested last month on charges he bought black market cement and verbally assaulted a neighbour.
His wife, Yusnaimy Jorge Soca, told the visitors: “He’s not in prison over two bags of cement. A common citizen would just receive a fine for that crime. He is in prison for the simple reason of wanting to dream.”
The Swedish member of the delegation — whose country currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency — said this looked like a thinly concealed political prosecution. He explained why they went.
Ingemar Cederberg, Deputy chief of the Swedish Embassy, said: “This is a way of showing our interest in the case and that it should advance and get clarified.”
The Cuban Commission on Human Rights accuses the government of using short terms in jail to discourage political opposition to the Carribean island’s one-party regime.