Last of released Cuban ‘Group of 75’ prisoners pledge to continue political rights campaign
Thursday, March 24th 2011 – 18:16 UTC
Last of released Cuban 'Group of 75' prisoners pledge to continue
political rights campaign
Cuba's last prisoners from among the "Group of 75" dissidents rounded up
and jailed by the Castro brothers' regime in March 2003 were freed
The release of Felix Navarro and Jose Daniel Ferrer concludes a process
began last July in the context of a Spanish-supported dialogue between
President Raul Castro and Cuba's Catholic hierarchy.
Fifty-two of the Group of 75 remained behind bars at the time of the
agreement. While one died in prison in February 2010 after a prolonged
hunger strike, the rest had been previously paroled on medical grounds.
"The reception was very moving. The entire family was waiting for me and
I will dedicate my first days (of freedom) to them, before resuming the
struggle," the 40-year-old Ferrer told the Spanish government news
agency on Wednesday from his home in the eastern province of Santiago de
Ferrer said he planned to continue working peacefully for political
change in Cuba as a member of the Christian Liberation Movement.
President Raul Castro's government found itself 'internationally forced'
to free the remaining Group of 75 prisoners, but their release does not
represent real change or an end to repression on the island, Ferrer said.
"Prisons in Cuba are full with all sorts of criminals, but also many
victims of the regime and of the totalitarian system's lack of freedom,"
Sayly Navarro, the daughter of Felix Navarro, 56 said on Wednesday that
her father was already home with his family in the western province of
Both Ferrer and Navarro were released on parole, as were the 10 other
Group of 75 prisoners who declined to accept exile in Spain as a
condition of their freedom.
The 40 other Group of 75 prisoners freed since last summer did agree to
go to Spain with their families and a number of non-Group of 75
detainees have been released on the same terms.
Though the Cuban government is no longer holding anyone meeting Amnesty
International's criteria for a prisoner of conscience, dissidents say
the island's prisons still contain people who were prosecuted and
sentenced for political reasons.