Cuban political prisoner released after 28 years


PANAMA CITY, Panama -- One of Cuba's longest-held political prisoners was released Friday through the petitions of a Panama general and vowed to denounce human rights violations by Fidel Castro's government.

After nearly 28 years in jail, Roberto Martin Perez Rodriguez, 52, arrived on an Panamanian air force jet.


He was greeted by his mother, Candida Rodriguez, 84, his daughter Glenda, 29, who was a year old when he was first arrested, and two grandchildren he had never seen.

Other relatives and Cuban journalists also were present.

'My companions wanted me to let the world know the conditions in which we lived and Castro's lies when he says that in Cuba human rights are respected, that prisoners are not beaten, in short, that we don't have reason for denouncing what we denounce,' Perez told a news conference.

Perez's mother sent a handwritten letter to General Manuel Antonio Noriega, Chief of Panamanian Defense Forces, asking for intervention to obtain her son's freedom.

Noriega petitioned the Castro government for Perez's release. Perez originally wanted his release only along with 248 other political prisoners, but agreed to leave on the condition Panamanian officials would try to achieve freedom for the others.


Asked whether he had been tortured, Perez said, 'I am missing one testicle from a shooting, I have been beaten, I have been abused and never broken.'

Perez vowed to continue his fight against communism in Nicaragua, Angola and other countries, and said he did not know when he would travel to the United States, where all his relatives live.

Perez said there are more than 270 political prisoners in different jails in Cuba.

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