Cuba Has Released Some Of 53 'Political' Prisoners, U.S. Says

Cuba has freed some of 53 people the United States regards as political prisoners according to latest update from Reuters News Agency.  As agreed under last month's U.S.-Cuban rapprochement, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday in its first public acknowledgement that some detainees have been released. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters "They have already released some of the prisoners. We would like to see this completed in the near future." However the Obama's administration has refused to identify by name, has provided ammunition for congressional critics of Obama's restoration of ties to Havana.

Elizardo Sanchez, leader of the dissident Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, said “We don't have any information up to now," Sanchez said in a telephone interview in Havana. "No names... We'll wait and see.” This is the group which monitors such detentions and said his organization was not aware of anyone being released. In the meanwhile White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters the reason the prisoners were not being identified was because "we don't want to put an even bigger target on their back as political dissidents."

Jen Psaki of the state department said the release of all 53 prisoners is not a pre-condition for holding talks to the eventual normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba which will take place later this month.

This rapprochement initiative made by President Obama has not gone down too well with the Republican Party and the man leading the charge is Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American Republican who is a leading congressional opponent of Obama's policy shift. He has urged President Obama to cancel upcoming talks with Havana and if at all the talks must be held it should be after the all the prisoners are released.