The Archdiocese of Havana has announced that five more political prisoners from Cuba will soon be released by the country's government and sent to Spain.
The prisoner releases are the result of an ongoing mediation effort being carried out by Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino of Havana and Spain’s Foreign Minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos.
Those to be released include: Juana Maria Nieves Mena, who was sentenced to 15 years in 1999, Domingo Ozuna Mederos, sentenced to 15 years in 2000, Juan Francisco Marimon Gomez, sentenced to 10 years in 2003, Misael Mena, sentenced to 17 years in 1999, and Jose Luis Ramil Navarro. The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation does not have information on Navarro.
The president of the commission, Elizardo Sanchez, confirmed that these five prisoners, like the other three who were recently released, are not part of the 52 political prisoners promised freedom by President Raul Castro. Of those, 39 have been released and sent to Spain, while 13 “do not want to leave Cuba,” Sanchez said.
The 52 have been identified by Amnesty International as “prisoners of conscience.”
Sanchez said sending the dissidents to Spain is in reality sending them into “exile.”
“The real winner continues to be the Cuban government, because it is getting rid of political prisoners,” he added.