Leading Cuban dissident says he doesn't seek asylum in Spain
A leading Cuban pro-democracy activist has vowed to return to his home country only hours after he and his wife landed in Spain following pressure by authorities in Cuba and their supporters that, he said, had become unbearable for the couple.Yunior Garca, a playwright born in 1982, offered fellow activists an explanation for why he decided to leave Cuba without consulting members of Archipilago Cuba, an online discussion forum with over 25,000 followers on Facebook.
A leading Cuban pro-democracy activist has vowed to return to his home country only hours after he and his wife landed in Spain following pressure by authorities in Cuba and their supporters that, he said, had become unbearable for the couple.
Yunior García, a playwright born in 1982, offered fellow activists an explanation for why he decided to leave Cuba without consulting members of Archipiélago Cuba, an online discussion forum with over 25,000 followers on Facebook. The forum was a driving force behind plans to hold anti-government protests across Cuba on Monday. Cuban authorities banned the marches, and government supporters surrounded the houses of many of the organizers to prevent them from going ahead with the protests. Activists said Cuban police had warned them they would be arrested if they took to the streets.
"I am not a machine, sorry. I am a person. The last few days have been more difficult than I could have anticipated,'' García told Cuban film director Ian Padrón late Wednesday during an interview streamed live on YouTube after the playwright and his wife arrived in Madrid.
Archipiélago had posted messages declaring García and his wife, Dayana Prieto, as missing after fellow activists were unable to contact the couple for several days.
García said the internet and phone service at their home had been cut off and Cuban flags hung from above covered the apartment windows. In a video recorded at the gate of the couple's home and shared by García during the online interview, several people who identify themselves as neighbors can be seen threatening the couple.
"They were going to leave me locked up in my house, they were going to cut me off, as all communications were already there, who knows for how long", he said.
"The only way I had to avoid being silenced was to escape from there,'' he added.
García landed at Madrid's international airport on Wednesday after he received an urgent tourist visa from the Spanish Embassy in Havana, a diplomatic source told The Associated Press. He has scheduled a Thursday press conference.
The official, who wasn't authorized to be identified by name in media reports, declined to discuss García's future in Spain. But the activist said during his interview that he doesn't plan to establish himself in Europe in the long run.
"I have not asked for asylum because my idea is to return to Cuba," García said.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez, who accuses the United States of instigating pro-democracy activists, said García and Prieto's departure was a personal decision and not the result of a deal between the Cuban and Spanish governments.
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