May 21, 2013
Cuba frees political prisoner against his wishes
A political prisoner who had refused to leave prison was freed against his wishes as Cuba continued to release jailed government opponents.
Hector Maseda, whose wife, Laura Pollan, heads the "Ladies in White," Cuba's leading dissident group, was told on Friday he could go free after almost eights years behind bars. But he said he would not leave until the government dropped its insistence on keeping him on parole.
He said he was taken from prison against his will and was still on parole, which imposes conditions on his freedom.
"Today, tomorrow and all the time, I will say I am being freed against my will and I am being forced by (the government). I do not agree with (parole)," he told reporters from his home in Central Havana.
Maseda, 68, who heads the outlawed Liberal Party, vowed to resume the dissident activities that got him thrown in jail in the first place.
"I have to continue now doing the same in opposition," he said.
Maseda was one of 52 political prisoners President Raúl Castro agreed to release in a deal brokered in July by the Roman Catholic Church.
All had been jailed in a 2003 government crackdown that drew international condemnation.
Castro wants to free them and all other political prisoners to end what has been one of the communist-led island's thorniest international problems.
With Maseda's release, just eight of the 52 remain behind bars.
The release process has been an extended one because Cuba wanted the freed prisoners to go to Spain, which agreed to take them.
But the last ones in jail have refused to leave Cuba and the government is finally letting them go.
Cuba views dissidents as mercenaries who work for its archenemy, the United States.