14ymedio, Havana, 21 January 2016 – Released on Wednesday, after three months detention, were two members of the Cuban opposition: Hugo Damián Prieto Blanco, leader of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo Front for Civic Action, and Wilberto Parada Milan, a member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), according to reports to this newspaper from opposition sources. Also released on Thursday morning was the opponent Carlos Manuel Figueroa, who was arrested after jumping the fence of the US embassy in Havana last October. According to dissident sources, the activist shouted slogans at the time: “Down with Raul” and “Down with the dictatorship.”
Figueroa was a part of the group of 53 political prisoners released in January 2015 after negotiations between Washington and Havana, according to a report at the time from Elizardo Sanchez, head of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN).
Hugo Damián Prieto Blanco and Wilberto Parada Milan were arrested on 24 October 2015, two days after holding a protest against the Attorney General of the Republic through which they demanded the release of Maria Josefa Acón, Zaqueo Baez and Ishmael Reni, the three activists jailed for approaching Pope Francis before Mass in the Plaza of the Revolution on 20 September of last year
The opponents were charged with disorderly conduct and sent to prison pending trial. The first has been held in Valle Grande and the second in the Combinado del Este in Havana.
After his release, Hugo Damian Prieto and his wife visited the headquarters of the Ladies in White in Havana’s Lawton neighborhood, according to former prisoner of the Black Spring, Angel Moya.
The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) reported the arbitrary detention of the two opponents in their last three reports and condemned it for going “against the well-known expectations encouraged by the announcement of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the governments of Cuba and the United States.”
According to the independent organization, “political repression increased steadily throughout 2015 from 178 cases in January to figures in the vicinity of 1,000 arrests by year’s end.”