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Marta Beatriz Roque
"We are going to continue working"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 16 May, 2000, 05:00 GMT 06:00 UK
Second Cuban dissident freed
Marta Beatriz Roque
Marta Beatriz Roque spent three years in jail

By Tom Gibb in Havana

The Cuban authorities have freed a second dissident of the so-called Group of Four whose case has been at the centre of international criticism over the last few years.

Marta Beatriz Roque was freed after spending three years of a 42-month sentence in jail. Two others of the group are still in prison.

Ms Roque was released from the military hospital where she had spent the last part of her imprisonment because of health problems.

Another of the group, Felix Bonne, was released on Friday.


Felix Bonne Carcasses
Felix Bonne Carcasses, one of the "Group of Four", has also been freed
Last year Ms Roque went on hunger strike to protest about the authorities not responding to an appeal in her case.

Along with three others, she was jailed for calling on people to boycott elections in the one-party system and for calling on foreign investors not to put their money into Cuba.

An economist, Ms Roque has been a central figure in the dissident movement over the last decade.

The government accused her and the others of being puppets of US imperialism.

However, until the government put the trial of the four on state television, most people in Cuba had not heard of her. State control of the press means that the opposition has no public voice.

The four are better known abroad, where there have been appeals for their release from the Vatican, Cuba's trading partners in Canada and Europe, as well as the United States.

Before their arrest the Group of Four had been trying to push the limits of what's permitted in Cuba.

They held press conferences and started to circulate documents calling for a transformation towards multi-party democracy.

On her release, Marta Beatriz Roque said she would continue to work for change on the island.

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See also:

13 May 00 | Americas
Cuba frees leading dissident
26 Feb 00 | Americas
Cuban jailed over flag insult
25 Feb 00 | Americas
Dissident arrests reported in Cuba
05 Dec 99 | Americas
Silent protest in Havana
11 Nov 99 | Americas
Castro warning to dissidents
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