Cuba Announces Massive Prisoner Release, Gradual Ease of Travel Restrictions

By Staff
Xinhua

Editorial comment.  It is hardly coincidental that the current prisoner amnesty falls on the 49th anniversary of the release of the last Bay of Pigs prisoners from Cuba in time for Christmas 1962. These armed mercenaries had been sentenced to 30 years in prison but were traded to the U.S. for $53 million in food and medical supplies to Cuba. If Cuba could release over 1000 individuals who had participated in an invasion of its territory, the U.S. can certainly free the Cuban 5 who had worked to prevent terrorist attacks on their country.

Dady Chery, Editor
Haiti Chery

HAVANA — President Raul Castro said Friday [Dec 23, 2011] that Cuba would release nearly 3,000 prisoners for “humanitarian reasons,” including some convicted of political crimes.

The release of 2,900 prisoners, including 86 foreign nationals from 25 different countries, would occur in the coming days, he told the National Assembly in the capital Havana.

However, those who were convicted of serious crimes like espionage, murder and drug trafficking would not be granted amnesty.

Meanwhile, the president also announced his plan to “gradually” reform laws restricting Cubans from traveling abroad.

“I ratified the government’s unswerving will to gradually introduce the changes required in the complicated migratory issue,”

he said, but didn’t give more details on reforming the travel restrictions.

“Many people consider the reform urgent but forget the hardships Cuba has to suffer under U.S. political sanctions,”

Castro said.

Cubans have to face complex application processes if they want to travel abroad. They also need to get entry visas from destination countries and file for permission for an exit visa, which costs nearly 1,000 U.S. dollars.

 

Source: Xinhua | Editorial comment and video added by Haiti Chery

 

 

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