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More Cuban dissidents arrive in Spain

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More Cuban dissidents arrive in Spain


A further two Cuban dissidents and their families have arrived in Spain as part of a prisoner release deal struck between Havana and the Catholic Church.

So far 20 out of 52 prisoners released in Cuba have taken up Spain’s offer of exile.

One of the latest to arrive in Madrid, Normando Hernandez Gonzalez, talked about his time spent in prison.

“On one occasion they threw me down the stairs and they hit me with sticks,” he said. “I had to refuse to be fed, to go on hunger strike, so my rights would be acknowledged. I got sick, they made me sick. To the extent that I think they injected me with diseases.”

The releases have been welcomed by numerous countries, including the US, but Gonzalez is calling for caution.

He said: “In the end these are cosmetic tricks from the Cuban government, with one goal among many others: for the (European Union) Common Position to be withdrawn. I think it is a big mistake to withdraw the Common Position towards Cuba.”

Cuba’s government took the world by surprise when it agreed last week to free activists arrested and jailed after a crackdown in 2003. Seven arrived in Madrid on Tuesday.

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