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Cuba frees two political prisoners

Cuba frees two political prisoners
Malaysia News.Net
Wednesday 21st October, 2009 (IANS)

The Cuban government has freed two political prisoners and released on
bail a Spanish businessman in a gesture to mark the just-completed visit
by Spain's foreign minister to Havana , diplomatic sources said.

The political prisoners released are Nelson Alberto Aguiar Ramirez and
Omelio Lazaro Angulo Borrero, and the businessman is Pedro Hermosilla,
who Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos knows personally,
the diplomats said Tuesday.

They added that releasing these prisoners is a sign that Spain's new
policy toward Cuba, based on mutual respect, 'is getting results'.

Angulo was paroled on medical grounds some time ago, but was barred from
leaving the country, despite his having a visa for Costa Rica. Those
restrictions have now been lifted.

Aguiar Ramirez, leader of the Orthodox Liberal Party, is one of the 75
members of the opposition jailed in the wave of repression in the spring
of 2003 and was serving a 13-year sentence.

He was freed early Tuesday and is now in his Havana home with his wife
Dolia Leal, who asked that her gratitude be conveyed to Moratinos.

Cuban authorities Monday released on bail businessman Hermosilla, who
had been held for several weeks and on whose behalf Moratinos spoke with
Cuban authorities in their meetings.

Sources told EFE that his release took place Monday evening, as the
two-day official visit of the Spanish minister was winding up with a
three-hour interview with Cuban President Raul Castro.

The businessman, who is accused of corruption and will not be allowed to
leave Cuba, has supplied material to the island for decades.

Moratinos said Spain will suggest to its European partners a negotiated
accord to replace the 'common position' of 1996, which irritates the
Cubans because it demands democracy and on the
communist-ruled island.

Spain led a movement in 2008 to raise the diplomatic sanctions that the
EU applied to Cuba in 2003 when the 75 dissidents were arrested,
two-thirds of whom are still in jail.

'We have spoken of the willingness to abandon, during the Spanish
presidency (of the EU in the first six months of 2010), that common
position, and replace it with a bilateral accord. That will be the chief
goal of the Spanish presidency,' said the minister at the end of his
48-hour visit to Havana.

Moratinos said that Castro 'has received with satisfaction the new
attitude' of US President Barack Obama, who has ended restrictions on
Cuban-Americans' and remittances to the island.

Raul Castro 'has welcomed positively the election of Obama, for whom he
has great respect', the minister said.

Cuba frees two political prisoners (21 October 2009)
http://www.malaysianews.net/story/556358

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