MADRID – Cuban dissidents Omar Ruiz and Pablo Pacheco, who arrived in Madrid with their families last Tuesday, agreed to be transferred to Malaga in keeping with the plan coordinated by the Red Cross and the Spanish Committee to Aid Refugees, or CEAR, and on Monday they will travel to that city in southern Spain.
Officials with the Spanish Federation of Cuban Associations confirmed Sunday to Efe the decision and added that another unnamed dissident might also agree to be transferred, although all had expressed their preference to remain in Madrid to be able – jointly – to make publicly known the situation they experienced during their seven years of imprisonment in Cuba.
Since they arrived in Madrid, the 11 Cuban former prisoners taken in by Spain to date have been housed with their relatives – 77 people in all – at the “Welcome” hotel, located in the neighborhood of Vallecas, a center regularly used by the Red Cross.
In addition, according to what CEAR sources said, time periods have been authorized within which to settle them in other cities and communities such as Malaga, Guadalajara, Cullera (in Valencia), La Rioja and Asturias.
The attention being paid to the former prisoners includes, along with letting them come to Spain and housing them, help in maintaining themselves, legal advice, health care and psychological support, as well as help for their minor children.
According to personnel with the Spanish Federation of Cuban Associations, the 11 dissidents expressed their interest in remaining in Madrid, given that they know that being dispersed into different cities could cause their unified denunciation of the situation of political prisoners in Cuba to be “extinguished.”
The sources added that the Spanish government had informed the dissidents that it would be necessary to distribute them to other locations so that nine other prisoners – and their relatives – could be housed temporarily at the center upon their arrival, scheduled for Tuesday, July 20, in Madrid.
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos announced on Saturday that nine more Cuban political prisoners will arrive in Spain on Tuesday, once they are freed by the Cuban regime.
The Spanish Foreign Ministry said that the arrival of the new group of political prisoners from Cuba would occur in accordance with the availability of flights – with an eye toward not having to separate the families – as well as with the pace that Cuban authorities can provide them with the proper documentation to leave the communist island.