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Cuban dissidents launch Spain hunger strike

Published Apr 13, 2012


Madrid - Ten Cuban former political prisoners on Friday launched a hunger strike in Madrid, accusing the Spanish government of abandoning them.

The 10 were among 115 political prisoners, who arrived in Spain with 647 family members in 2010 and 2011. Spain's then Socialist government received them after they were released following negotiations between the Cuban regime and the island nation's Catholic Church.

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The Cubans were to be given financial support for up to 1.5 years. The support has now run out for about 500 of them.

The Cubans have also been unable to find jobs in Spain, whose 23-per-cent unemployment rate is the European Union's highest.

About 30 of the Cubans protested in front of the Foreign Ministry on Thursday.

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A hunger strike is “the only alternative we have left,” said Ernesto Duran Rodriguez, who is participating in the strike. “We feel abandoned here, and we are responsible for the family members we brought with us from Cuba.”

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government has promised to look into the fate of the Cubans “case by case.”

- Sapa-dpa

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