The Cuban government completed the release of 53 prisoners promised as part of the agreements announced on December 17 to move towards the restoration of diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana.
According to The New York Times (NYT) dated in Islamabad, Pakistan -where the Secretary of State, John Kerry, arrived -, a senior US official said Monday that “our Interests Section in La Havana could verify these releases.”
“We welcome this very positive development and we are pleased that the Cuban government carried on in this commitment,” said the source.
NYT noted that the release of these prisoners has been long awaited in the US as a sign that Cuba is willing to carry out the agreement to normalize bilateral relations, which are still conditioned by an embargo / economic blockade for over half century which, according to authorities of the island has cost more than a trillion 112 billion dollars and untold human damage due to restrictions affecting services like health and education.
“During our discussions with Cubans, we shared the names of individuals imprisoned in Cuba on charges related to political activities” that official also said, who could not be identified according to the methods to inform the press.
“The Cuban government took the sovereign decision to release these individuals.”
The New York who recently starred an incisive publishing campaign in favor of the thaw between the two nations noted that this announcement comes less than two weeks before the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson, head a delegation to Cuba to dialogue, on January 21 and 22, on migration issues and eventually discuss practical steps for the approach.
Either way, NYT recalled that US officials have warned that will be attentive to whether the Cuban government undermines this process through arrests and harassment of other political opponents.
Also, NYT indicated that those statements were made to coincide with the arrival in Pakistan of the Secretary of State, John Kerry, for talks on economic and security and economic links with civilian and military representatives of the Asian country.