Cuban leader Fidel Castro speaking to the media. His government objects to using the word "dissidents" to describe those detained for criticizing Castro"s policies.
"I appreciate your (efforts) in the name of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, although in my opinion, they are completely mistaken."
He said 114 human rights activists have "not only expressed" their "total backing and support of the U.S. embargo against the Cuban government but also requested the stiffening and the hardening of the policy of the European Union and other countries of the international community toward Cuba."
Gonzales Leiva was given a four-year jail sentence on charges of "disrespect", "public disorder", resistance", and "disobedience", dissident sources say. This year he was allowed to serve the rest of his term under house arrest in his home in the central city of Ciego de Avila, after more than two years in a Communist prison.
He told reporters in April that the move was not leniency, but because "it doesn't look good to have a blind person behind bars". The activist claimed the time he spent in detention had been "psychological torture", and human rights watchers say he had been beaten.
Gonzalez Leiva was one of 10 members of the Cuban Foundation for Human Rights detained in 2002 while holding a peaceful protest at a city hospital in solidarity with an independent journalist who they said "had been brutally beaten by State Security agents."
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