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Letter of Appreciation from Recently Released Cuban Colleagues

In the summer of 1996, three Cuban scientific colleagues—electrical engineer Félix Antonio Bonne Carcassés, economist Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, and economist Vladimiro Roca Antunez—together with lawyer René Gomez Manzano formed the Grupo de Trabajo de la Disidencia Interna para el Análisis de la Situación Socio-Económica Cubana (the Internal Dissidents Task Group for the Analysis of the Cuban Socio-Economic Situation). The four were arrested in July 1997 after the group presented The Homeland Is for Everyone--a socio-economic critique of a Cuban Communist Party manifesto that described their vision of Cuba’s future--at a press conference for foreign journalists. In March 1999, almost two years later, the four Task Group members were convicted and sentenced to prison terms ranging from three-and-a-half to five years. Mr. Bonne, Ms. Roque, and Mr. Gomez were released in May 2000, before their sentences had expired. They reportedly were freed under Cuban legislation that allows for conditional freedom for prisoners who have served more than half their sentences and are considered to have behaved well during their incarceration. Although Mr. Roca—who had received the longest sentence, five years—reportedly also meets the criteria for early release, he remains in prison and has been subjected to particularly harsh conditions of confinement. It would appear that Mr. Roca, who is the son of Cuban revolutionary hero Blas Roca, has been singled out for particularly severe treatment because he had formerly been a member and supporter of the Cuban Communist Party.

Havana, June 29, 2000
Jubilee Holy Year
The Hon. FRS. Torsten Wiesel
Nobel Prize in 1981
in Physiology or Medicine

The Honorable Mr. Torsten:

Allow us to humbly thank you for the expressions of affection that you and the Committee on Human Rights of the Academies of Science and Engineering and the Institute of Medicine have shown us.

Unfortunately, Vladimiro Roca Antunez, our brother in the cause, with whom we maintain solidarity, is still in jail.

We also thank you for the gifts you have sent us. Now that we are on probation, we would be thankful if we could keep in touch with you.


Félix Antonio Bonne Carcassés
René de Jesús Gomez Manzano
Marta Beatriz Roque

The original letter is reproduced below:

Letter from Cubans