What Cuba's dissidents want
27/07 20:16 CET
On July 13, seven freed Cuban dissidents arrived at Madrid airport in
Spain. They were part of a group of 75 people who were given long prison
sentences in a crackdown in early 2003. Their release followed
negotiations between the Cuban Catholic church and Raúl Castro.
The Cuban president had promised the Spanish government that 52 of the
75 would be freed.
Madrid has urged the EU to reward Havana with diplomatic and economic
concessions in return for an improvement in human rights.
On arriving in Spain, released dissident Julio César Gálvez Rodríguez
said: "We are the first of a group of prisoners of conscience who have
just landed on Spanish soil, after more than seven years of being
unfairly jailed and in captivity."
But the release of the political prisoners is not the Cuban dissidents'
Opponents of the regime also want much wider democratic reforms. They
include: a free press and freedom of expression; the disbanding of the
so called political police – Section 21 of the State Security force –
and the repeal of the so-called 'gag law' – Law 88 – under which Cubans
can be jailed for up to 20 years for providing information to the US.
The opposition also wants more freedom to travel outside Cuba, to set up
their own businesses to own private property and use the internet and
watch non-state television.