Two of the 53 dissidents released by Cuba rearrested
By Andrew O’Reilly, Carmen M. Llona
Published January 16, 2015Fox News Latino
In a move that has angered lawmakers and activists in the United States,
the Cuban government has rearrested two political prisoners from the
list of 53 whose release had been negotiated by the U.S.
According to independent media sources in Cuba, Ronaldo Reyes Rabanal
and Luís Enrique Labrador – along with other activists – were arrested
while attending a meeting of the opposition group, Movement for a New
Republic. Lazara María Borrego Guzmán, a member of the Ladies in White
opposition movement, was also allegedly arrested during the meeting and
Cuban officials allegedly broke her arm.
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ, confirmed to Fox News Latino the re-arrest of
the political prisoners.
Menendez, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
said that Reyes Rabanal was detained for several hours on Thursday and
released in the afternoon. The dissident said that Cuban police drove
him outside of Havana and left him along the road upon his release.
The New Jersey lawmaker added that Labrador is still in custody.
The U.S.-Cuba deal announced in December has drawn harsh criticism from
lawmakers in the U.S. opposed to the cooling in diplomatic relations
between the longtime foes.
“The President’s flawed and arbitrary list of 53 political prisoners
falls far short of a condition that should be non-negotiable: the
permanent release of all political prisoners,” Republican Congressman
Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida said in a press release. “When the Castro
regime re-arrests political prisoners after the President ‘negotiated’
their release, it makes a mockery of the entire bad deal.”
Along with the arrests of Reyes Rabanal and Labrador, another member on
Obama’s list was rearrested late last year. Marecelino Abreu Bonora –
who was originally released from prison in October, but was included on
the list of 53 – was rearrested on December 26, beaten by Cuban
officials and finally rereleased again on January 7 after being held in
a punishment cell for almost two weeks.
Dissidents on the island – including those that were part of the list of
53 – have spoken out about the state of fear that they have been living
in since their release from prison.
“They can arrest us again whenever they see fit,” José Lino Ascensio
López, a dissident who was part of the 53 dissidents recently released
from prison, told Fox News Latino. “We knew that from the moment they
let us go.”
Last week, the U.S. Foreign Affairs Committee released the names of the
political prisoners but did not disclose their whereabouts after their
release. The Cuban government said it released the prisoners as part of
last month’s historic deal between the United States and Cuba.
Most of the released dissidents belong to the Patriotic Union of Cuba,
an anti-government group based in far eastern Cuba. The group’s
spokesman told Fox News Latino that even though the political prisoners
were sprung, the move is purely “cosmetic.”
While the White House has not released statement about the rearrest on
Monday, Obama’s U.N. ambassador alluded to the recent release of the 53
dissidents but said more needs to be done.
“Welcome as that step is, and heartening as it is for their families,”
Samantha Powers said,” (it) does not resolve the larger human rights
problems on the island.”
Includes reporting by Elizabeth Llorente.
Source: Two of the 53 dissidents released by Cuba rearrested | Fox News