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Cuba denies entry to representative of Ladies in White in Europe

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

Madrid, Aug 14 (EFE).- Cuban Blanca Reyes, the representative of the Ladies in White in Europe, complained Wednesday that Havana had denied her permission to travel to her homeland and visit her blind, 93-year-old father.

In remarks to Efe, Reyes, the wife of exiled Cuban poet and journalist Raul Rivero, who lives in Spain, expressed "the desolation" the denial caused within her given that it is quite likely the last time that she can return home to see her father.

"It's a human rights violation," she said, adding that "it's very unfair that I cannot go to see my father, that I can't visit my country, my friends."

"I'm not going to accept that the Cuban government can tell me what I have to do," the Ladies in White rep emphasized.

"It's a lie" that the Cuban government is in the midst of opening the country up, she said, adding that the European Union should not relax its Common Position, according to which it demands that Havana make advances in human rights in exchange for reductions in the restrictions it imposes on the island.

Reyes in April accompanied Ladies in White spokesperson Berta Soler to receive the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize.

The award was given to the group in 2005 but until this year Cuban authorities had not allowed Soler to leave the country.

In 2012, the Spanish government granted citizenship to Rivero, Reyes and their daughter Yenia.

Rivero was sentenced to 20 years behind bars by the Cuban government in 2000 "for practicing independent journalism and expressing his opinions about the Cuban reality," according to what the Spanish government said upon granting him citizenship.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/agencia-efe/130814/cuba-denies-entry-representative-ladies-white-europe