Thousands in Madrid protest against Castro regime

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Thousands gather to call for freedom for all Cubans as Havana marks the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution this year.

MADRID – Thousands gathered Sunday in central Madrid to protest against Cuba's Communist regime, one day after a large rally in support of President Raul Castro's leadership was held in the Spanish capital.

Some 2,000 people gathered under the theme "Cuba, 50 years without freedom" in Madrid's central square, Puerta del Sol, as Havana this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution.

Paris-based Cuban novelist Zoe Valdes read out a "Madrid manifesto" to the crowd in which she called for "freedom for all Cubans" and international support for the "democratic opposition" in the Caribbean country.

Organised by exiled Cubans, the protest also drew support from the right-wing opposition Popular Party.

On Saturday, several thousand demonstrators, stemming from Spain's Communist Party and an environmental-communist coalition, gathered for a rally in central Madrid under the theme "50 years of revolution, Cuba is not alone".

Numerous exiled Cuban dissidents live in Spain, including journalist and writer Raul Rivero and the dissident Hector Palacios. Both were freed for health reasons after being imprisoned in 2003.

According to exiled Cubans, the arrival of Raul Castro, who has been governing Cuba since his brother Fidel fell ill in 2006, has brought no improvement to human rights on the Communist island.

Spain announced Thursday that it would lodge a complaint with the Cuban embassy for issuing a statement attacking the head of Madrid's regional government over her criticism of the communist island.

[AFP / Expatica]

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