Photo: Rafael Matos Montes de Oca
A Cuban dissident sentenced in 2012 to 30 months in prison for “pre-criminal social dangerousness” was released this week on parole, a leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba opposition group said Thursday.
Rafael Matos Montes de Oca, from far-eastern Guantanamo province, was released Tuesday, Jose Daniel Ferrer told Efe by telephone.
Matos is considered a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, which last August demanded his release along with four other Cuban dissidents: Emilio Planas Robert and brothers Alexeis, Diango and Vianco Vargas Martin, who remain behind bars.
On Christmas Eve, according to Ferrer, Roelvis Cuba Sendo was set free - after being imprisoned in August 2012 for contempt of and resistance to authority - just as he was on the verge of completing his 18-month sentence.
The Patriotic Union attributes the releases to the Cuban government’s attempt to “launder its image” with the European Union given the possibility of negotiating a bilateral treaty that would allow it to overcome the EU’s “common position.”
Since 1996, that policy has governed the relations of the European bloc with Cuba and conditions them on democratic advances on the island.
Meanwhile, Ferrer complained that this same week another dissident from the eastern part of the country, Abel Lopez Perez, who was released from custody on medical grounds in 2011, was taken back to prison.
The Patriotic Union calculates that there are 87 political prisoners in Cuban jails.
Cuba’s Communist government considers dissidents to be “counterrevolutionaries” and mercenaries in the service of the United States.