Spain envoy in Cuba to push for prisoners' freedom

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Spain envoy in Cuba to push for prisoners' freedom

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The Spanish foreign minister has arrived in Havana to try to secure the release of several political prisoners in Cuba.

Miguel Angel Moratinos was met by his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla ahead of official talks today. Madrid’s top diplomat, who’s supporting the Catholic Church in its dialogue with the authorities, says he hopes “to get results”.

He will not meet Cuban political dissidents such as Guillermo Fariñas, said by his doctor to be close to death after being on hunger strike since February.

Fariñas, who is suffering from a blood clot on his neck, has been campaigning for the release of the most seriously ill prisoners.

He stopped taking food following the death of Orlando Zapata, another dissident on hunger strike.

The international outcry that followed – provoking demonstrations in several cities – stung the Cuban authorities.

One paraplegic dissident was freed following mediation from the Catholic Church. Other prisoners were moved to jails closer to their homes.

Human rights campaigners say although the number of political prisoners has come down, the repression continues.