Another PR stunt about releasing Cuban political prisoners

The word from Cuba is that the Castro regime has released many political prisoners on the eve of Pope Francis's visit.

Unfortunately, there is not a single political prisoner on this list, according to Marc Masferrer, who has been tracking this for years:

Just consider this: None of the political prisoners whose names were on a list released in June by the unofficial Cuban Commission on Human Rights were on the list of soon-to-be-parolees released by the dictatorship on Friday.

Also, there was no word if the dictatorship and secret police also planned to halt or suspend its increasingly pervasive repression of the Cuban people -- especially those Ladies In White and other activists who dare challenge the regime by trying to walk to Sunday Mass, and instead end up beaten and/or jailed.

Stopping that would please Pope Francis, too, right?

The list of political prisoners is here.

The list of new parolees is here.

Reuters is reporting the same thing:

None of the 3,522 prisoners pardoned by the Cuban government on Friday appear to be political prisoners, according to a Reuters review of a list of political prisoners published by the dissident Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation.

Commission members said they were still reviewing a 129-page document published by the government that lists all the names of those to be released. Cuba said it would pardon the prisoners on the occasion of the Sept. 19-22 visit by Pope Francis.

The Reuters review showed only one of the 3,522 names appeared to match those on a list of 60 political prisoners published by the human rights commission in June. But the commission said that name appeared to be a coincidence as the circumstances of their cases differed.

However, the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), Cuba's largest dissident organization, said it considered one of those pardoned to be a political prisoner because he took up political activism in jail. The human rights commission said it had excluded that prisoner because of a history of violent crime.

As  my friend Carlos Eire, professor at Yale and author, said today:    

The Castro propaganda machine has won yet another victory.

No surprise, really.  But it’s so infuriating to see propaganda victories like this one time and time again.

Try this out: do a Google search for “Cuba News” and see for yourself.  Over half of the news stories today are on the prisoner release.

Again, there was no release – just a story about a release.

This is a travesty, and I'm hoping that the Obama administration will say something.   

We understand that President Obama is very busy these days promoting his climate change agenda.  Nevertheless, we hope that he takes a minute and reminds the Castro regime that this last chapter of change is more of the same.

This is not the "cambio" that we expected after the Obama administration gave the Castro regime everything that it wanted.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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