saying 53 anti-Communists freed this week are just a start
[This article from the reactionary and bombastic-imperialist Daily Mail, is true to their arrogant form. But while revealing that “diplomatic relations” is just an excuse for new imperialist dictation toward Cuba, there is, of course, no mention of a “quid pro quo” — though many might ask, where is the Cuban demand for release of political prisoners in the US, as well as …. where is the demand from Cuba for US to get out of the illegally occupied Guantanamo? — Frontlines ed.]
- The White House revealed on Tuesday that it dictated to Cuba which political prisoners should be released immediately
- ‘Our efforts to secure the release of other political prisoners that are unjustly detained in Cuba is ongoing,’ the president’s spokesman said
- He did not say how many other dissidents the U.S. government is lobbying Raul Castro’s regime to set free
The White House revealed on Tuesday that it dictated to Cuba which political prisoners should be released and that there are additional detainees beyond the 53 that have already been let go that it wants to see freed.
‘Our efforts to secure the release of other political prisoners that are unjustly detained in Cuba is ongoing,’ White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.
Earnest did not say how many other political prisoners it is lobbying Raul Castro’s regime to set free nor would he give out the names of the original 53.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Tuesday that the U.S. is working to free additional political prisoners in Cuba who are still behind bars beyond the 53 names it initially submitted to the Raul Castro regime
Fulfilling an agreement with the U.S. government, announced in December as part of a reconciliation between the two countries after more than 50 years of hostility, the Castro regime released the last of the political prisoners off of the U.S. list.
Some of the inmates had already been released even before the talks between the U.S. and Cuba were made public, Earnest confirmed, as a result of the ‘ongoing,’ high-level negotiations between the counties’ leaders.
The White House said Tuesday that it had worked with various human rights groups to confirm that all the detainees the government said it had freed were no longer in custody.
‘We welcome this positive development, and we are pleased to hear that the Cuban government followed through on this commitment, not just to the United States, but also to the Vatican,’ Earnest said today.
The State Department said on Monday, however, that a ‘small number’ of the 53 prisoner were still behind bars and would not be released until later this year as talks between the two countries continue.
Earnest said the completion of the initial prisoner release ‘is an indication that [the Castros] are, at least so far, that they are living up to the terms of the agreement.’
Those names on the list were supplied by ‘various human rights organizations’ and had been imprisoned by the Cuban government for ‘exercising internationally protected freedoms,’ Earnest said, ‘or for their promotion of political and social reforms.’
They were ‘extensively reviewed and negotiated and discussed,’ he said, before they were submitted to the Cuban government.
The president’s spokesman again refused, as he has on previous occasions, to provide reporters with the names of those freed, however, saying that the White House does not want to set an unhelpful ‘precedent’ by giving out that information.
But a day before the Associated Press had obtained and subsequently published a list of names that it says was verified by the Obama administration.
The White House had given the list to a ‘large’ group of lawmakers that had formally or informally requested information on the issue and included California Rep. Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and New York Rep. Eliot Engel, the committee’s ranking member.
One of the congressional offices then leaked it to the press.
‘As is usually the case, I suspect that some Members of Congress wont feel the obligation to withhold that list that we do,” Earnest said today when asked to confirm that the White House had provided that information to some lawmakers.
Cuban dissident Angel Figueredo, right, and his wife, Haydee Guallardo, left, are pictured here on Monday in Havana, Cuba. Figueredo and Gallardo were released from prison as part of an agreement aimed at ending decades of hostility between Cuba and the United States
Earnest said the White House didn’t want to give out the names of the dissidents whose release it had requested because it doesn’t want ‘everybody assume that all this business is taken care of, cause its not.’
‘We don’t want anybody to be left with the impression, and we certainly don’t want the Castro regime to be left with the impression, that these are the only 53 political prisoners that we care about,’ he explained.
‘There are other individuals who are being unjustly detained and being kept in prisons.’
Jose Daniel Ferrer, the head of Cuban dissident organization UNPACU, told Reuters on Monday that many of organization’s activists were still in custody and called on the U.S. to step in on their behalf.
”While we thank the United States for its gesture in freeing’ the first set of prisoners ‘we regret that there are some political prisoners – about 10 – who remain in prison,’ he said.
Earnest said Tuesday that the U.S. would ‘continue to advocate and push for the Castro regime to make the basic decision’ to respect human rights and release the other individuals being forcibly detained as well.