HAVANA – The first of 13 remaining Cuban dissidents jailed since 2003 was released from prison Saturday and returned to his home in the capital, a strong signal the government intends to release all of the men despite their refusal to go into exile.
There was no immediate comment from the Roman Catholic Church, which had announced all of the previous releases. The government has refused to comment as the process has unfolded.
After a meeting with President Raul Castro on July 7, Havana Cardinal Jaime Ortega announced that the 52 still in prison would be let go over the course of four months. Thirty-nine of the men were freed and sent into exile in Spain, but progress stalled as the last 13 refused to leave the island.