Dissidents in Cuba
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Spain miffed after politician denied entry to Cuba

Posted on Monday, 01.04.10
Spain miffed after politician denied entry to Cuba
By DANIEL WOOLLS
Associated Press Writer

MADRID — Spain's Foreign Ministry summoned the Cuban ambassador Monday
to explain why a Spanish politician who has promoted ties with Cuban
opposition figures was denied entry to the island and held for a couple
of hours before being sent back home.

It was unjustifiable that Luis Yanez, a Socialist who now holds a seat
representing Spain at the European Parliament and has served under a
previous Spanish government, was not allowed to enter Cuba, the ministry
said in a statement.

The ministry's top official for Latin America, Juan Pablo de Laiglesia,
called ambassador Alejandro Gonzalez Galiano to come in on Tuesday to
provide an explanation.

Yanez was detained upon arrival and expelled from the communist-run
Caribbean country before dawn Monday, the ministry said. There was no
immediate comment from Cuban officials in Havana, and no one answered
the phone at the Cuban embassy in Madrid.

Neither the foreign ministry statement nor a ministry official said why
Yanez was visiting.

Yanez has promoted contacts between European socialists and democratic
Cuban dissidents as president of a group called Cuba-Europe in Progress.
Spanish news reports said Yanez was denied a visa to enter Cuba in 2008
when he was invited to attend a meeting of the Progressive Arc dissident
group.

Posted on the group's Web site is a column Yanez wrote in the Spanish
newspaper El Pais in 2007 decrying "the disappearance of the most
minimal freedom of expression and of artistic creation" in Cuba, as well
as the jailing of dissidents.

Manuel Cuesta Morua, head of Progressive Arc, told The Associated Press
that Yanez had indicated that he planned to visit with him during his trip.

"I think that (the authorities) are taking reprisals," Cuesta said.

An official with the Spanish Socialist Party said Yanez and his wife
Carmen Hermosin, who is member of the Spanish parliament, had traveled
to Cuba on a tourist visa for a private trip with no political meetings
planned. She flew back with her husband.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with party rules.

In recent years, Cuba has refused entry to several European and Spanish
parliamentarians who arrived on the island with tourist visas but who
were believed to be planning to meet with dissidents.

Spain miffed after politician denied entry to Cuba – World AP –
MiamiHerald.com (4 January 2010)
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/world/AP/story/1408987.html

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