La Vanguardiareports that a group of Cuban "political prisoners has asked the EU not to change its policy on Cuba." On their arrival in Spain, nine of the 52 political prisoners whose release was announced by the Castro regime on 8 July announced "that they would like to consult with the European Parliament before next September’s review of the EU’s Common Position on Cuba, which has remained unchanged since 1996." According to the daily, the dissidents want to raise awareness of "living conditions in Cuba, which has not complied with a request to safeguard human rights, which is one of the key points of the Common Position."
La Vanguardia points out that "most of the prisoners believe that their release is a step on the road to change." However, they do not think it should be viewed as proof that human rights and pluralist democracy will soon prevail on the island. One of the freed dissidents, Normando Hernández, who had been sentenced to 25 years in prison, described the Cuban government’s decision as "a smokescreen," and further insisted abandoning the Common Position would be an “aberration” because "its objectives have yet to be attained." This view not shared by Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, who, during a recent visit to the island, announced that there was "no reason" for the EU to maintain its Common Position on Cuba.
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