Monday, November 30, 2009

Son of Cuban revolutionary hero briefly detained

Posted on Monday, 11.30.09
Son of Cuban revolutionary hero briefly detained
Associated Press Writer

HAVANA -- The ailing son of one of Cuba's revolutionary heroes said he
was detained by security officials for three days after protesting that
authorities wouldn't let him leave the country for treatment.

Juan Almeida Garcia, whose father fought alongside Fidel Castro during
Cuba's 1959 revolution and rose to the level of vice president before
his death this year, told The Associated Press that he was taken into
custody Friday while on his way to a protest in central Havana. He was
released Monday, and said he still hoped authorities would let him go

"I am asking to leave the country," Almeida said in a phone interview an
hour after his release. "I am not a dissident."

Almeida said he was well treated while in custody at the Villa Marista
jail. He is required to check in with authorities every 15 days, and has
no word on whether he will be granted permission to leave to seek
treatment for ankylosing spondylitis, a painful, progressive form of
spinal arthritis.

His wife Consuelo, who has been living in Miami for a year while tending
to her elderly mother, said she was relieved to get a call from her
husband following his release, but that she continued to be concerned
for his health.

"I have had sleepless nights," she said. "They are not going to let him
leave and they are not going to let him see a doctor."

There was no immediate comment from the government.

Almeida's father, Juan Almeida Bosque, was a member of Cuba's ruling
elite, sitting on the Communist Party's Politburo and serving as a vice
president on the Council of State, the country's supreme governing body.

When he died in September at the age of 82, he was given honors
befitting his title as a "commander of the revolution," with a ceremony
at Revolution Plaza led by President Raul Castro and attended by tens of
thousands of mourners.

But it has been a different story for the younger Almeida, 43, who has
been arrested at least twice now for trying to leave the country.
Almeida said he had received treatment in Belgium in the past after
receiving permission to leave Cuba. But authorities have not looked as
kindly on his efforts to travel to Los Angeles to see a doctor at the
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Almeida is not the first relative of Cuba's ruling elite to try to leave
Cuba. Fidel Castro's daughter Alina sneaked out of Cuba in 1993 using a
false passport, and eventually settled in Miami, becoming a fierce
critic of her father's rule.

The younger Almeida is a lawyer who had worked for state security within
the Interior Ministry in the 1990s.

While Cubans are allowed to leave the island, they must first seek an
exit visa. Doctors, scientists and other key personnel, as well as the
relatives of leaders in sensitive military or political positions, are
often denied permission for fear they will not return.

Son of Cuban revolutionary hero briefly detained - World AP - (30 November 2009)

No comments: