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July 7, 2010: Cuba's Catholic Church says the government plans to free 52 political prisoners.

February 23, 2010: Dissident Orlanda Zapata dies at the age fo 36 after an 85-day hunger strike. President Raul Castro apologises the following day. Another dissident, 48-year-old journalist Guillermo Farinas, goes on hunger strike in protest.

May 19, 2010: Caridinal Jaime Ortega, the Archbishop of Havana, says the government is considering the prisoners' fate. Ortega made his comments after a meeting with President Castro.

May 21, 2010: An ailing Farinas calls for the prisoners to be freed. In return, he vows to end his hunger strike.

June 3, 2010: State-run newspaper Granma runs a story saying Farinas is in a critical condition in hospital in Santa Clara.

July 7, 2010: Farnas ends his 135-day hunger strike. Cuba announces the release of seven prisoners. Meanwhile, the first group of dissidents head to Spain where they seek political asylum.

Havana promises to release a total of 52 prisoners, an estimated third of all political detainees currently in Cuban jails. They will all be free by next October.

(Las Damas de Blanco)

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