Cuba-Catholic Church Announce Release of ‘Black Spring’ Prisoners

July 8, 2010

(ChattahBox)— In a 2003 crackdown on journalists and political activists by the Cuban government, dubbed “Black Spring,” 75 so-called dissidents were rounded up and imprisoned for up to 28-years. In a surprise announcement yesterday by Havana Cardinal Jaime Ortega, Cuba has agreed to release the remaining 52 of those dissidents in custody. Five of the prisoners were released yesterday and allowed to travel to Spain, after a meeting between President Raúl Castro and Spain’s foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos. And the remaining 47 will be released in the coming months. This move marks the largest release of Cuban political prisoners in over ten-years.

Human rights organizations had been pressuring Cuba to release the political prisoners, since Orlando Zapata Tamayo died in prison while on a hunger strike. Guillermo Fariñas another prisoner, went on his own hunger strike after Tamayo’s death.

It was unclear whether the remaining 47 prisoners would be allowed to remain in Cuba or be forced to leave the Island.

The United States issued a cautious statement yesterday, praising the development. “We would view prisoner releases as a positive development, but we are seeking further details to confirm” the church’s announcement, said U.S. State Department spokeswoman Virginia Staab.

And the families of the prisoners are equally as cautious. They will only believe it when they see their loved ones in their arms.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/Caulfieldh/Old Pontiac in Havana


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