HAVANA – Cuban dissident Ariel Sigler, released from prison last month on medical grounds, will travel next week to the United States after obtaining an exit visa from authorities in Havana, an opposition group told Efe.
Sigler has a brother in Miami and on Tuesday received permission to leave the communist island, the spokesman for the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation, or CCDHRN, Elizardo Sanchez, said.
“He’s going with a humanitarian visa and alone,” said Sanchez, who added that he had talked with Sigler’s wife, Noelia Pedraza, who is also going through the procedures to move to the United States.
The medical parole authorized for Sigler was the first result of the dialogue process begun in May between the government of Raul Castro and Cuba’s Catholic hierarchy regarding the regime’s political prisoners.
Sigler, 47, and his brother Guido were among the 75 dissidents rounded up and jailed in the “Black Spring” of March 2003.
During his seven years in prison, Ariel Sigler’s health deteriorated to the point that he was left a paraplegic due to a neurological ailment linked to nutritional problems.
In addition to Sigler’s parole, the Cuban government has committed itself to gradually releasing over the next four months the 52 “Group of 75” prisoners remaining behind bars.
Most of the 20 detainees released so far have gone to Spain, which is supporting the church-state dialogue in Cuba. EFE