Cuba completes release of political prisoners under deal with U.S.

The release was part of the re-establishment of diplomatic ties between the United States and Cuba.
By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |  Jan. 12, 2015 at 12:23 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The Cuban government released all 53 political prisoners it had agreed to, a senior U.S. administration official confirmed Monday.

An undetermined number were released last week, but today's announcement completed the transfer, as agreed in last month's historic diplomatic breakthrough, announced Dec. 17 by U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro. The Cuban government notified the White House of the development, and the U.S. Interests Section in Havana confirmed it.

The political prisoners were not identified, but human rights groups said they have been held by the Cuban government for advocating reforms or participating in other political activities.

Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said, "Welcome as that step is, and heartening as it is for their families, [it] does not resolve the larger human rights problem on the island."

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, "This list [of released prisoners] is not to be seen as the end of our discussion on human rights with the government of Cuba." The issue is expected to be part of high-level discussion in Havana, next week, between the United States and Cuba.

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