Spain Hopeful about Cuba’s Release of Political Prisoners and Possible End to the Embargo

AFP reports that Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos believes that Cuba’s release of all its political prisoners would improve its relations with Europe and United States, and could lead to the lifting of the U.S. embargo that Washington has maintained against Cuba since 1962. Moratinos was responding to an announcement by Cuban parliament chief Ricardo Alarcon expressing his “government’s wish is to free all the people” not accused of murder.

In a Spain-brokered deal between the Catholic Church and Havana, Cuba agreed this month to free 52 of 75 detainees who had been sentenced in 2003 to prison terms of up to 28 years. Eleven freed prisoners have already relocated to Spain with their families. A twelfth prisoner arrived on Wednesday and another eight were to arrive in Madrid yesterday as part of Cuba’s biggest release of political prisoners in over a decade.

Moratinos said that such releases would yield positive “political consequences” for relations with the European Union and the United States. He has urged the European Union to change its joint position linking dialogue with Cuba to progress on human rights saying that he wanted to change it to a “cooperation accord” despite the reluctance of some countries, including Germany and France.

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