tuberculosis in the Kilo 7 Prison in the province of Camaguey, dissidents told BosNewsLife.

The Council of Human Rights Rapporteurs in Cuba, an underground group campaigning for the
release of political prisoners, suggested that Alfredo Pulido Lopez had likely contracted tuberculosis under "dubious" circumstances and that he was possibly in life danger.

"Normando Hernandez Gonzales, another "prisoner of conscience" also contracted tuberculosis under "dubious circumstances" while confined at the Kilo 5 ½ Prison in the province of Pinar del Rio," said the group’s president Margarito Broche Espinosa.

In a statement obtained by BosNewsLife, Broche Espinosa, said he had "great concern for the life of "Cuban prisoner of conscience Pulido Lopez."

EXPRESSING SOLIDARITY

A former political prisoner himself, Broche Espinosa said he had "expressed solidarity with the family of Pulido Lopez" and demanded that he would hold "the Cuban regime" "responsible" the "dissident’s state of health."

Pulido Lopez is one of 75 prisoners, including Christians, detained in a massive government crackdown in March 2003 on dissidents demanding more religious and political freedom. He was tried summarily on April 2003, and sentenced to 14 years in prison for "acts against the independence and the territorial integrity of the Cuban State".
 
Broche Espinosa said the Cuban government "must liberate all prisoners of conscience who are
sick and, though innocent, have been serving prison sentences for more than four years." News of the fragile health of Pulido Lopez and other dissidents came after government attempts to prove that Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s health has improved.

"ROAD TO RECOVERY"

In an article published this week he claimed he was on the road to recovery, after being sidelined by gastrointestinal surgery 10 months ago. The 80-year-old Castro lifted the veil on his health woes for the first time, admitting that he actually went under the knife several times and was fed through a tube for several months.

Castro had denied human rights abuses and the existence of Christian dissidents or political
prisoners. Those detained, he has said, are "mercenaries of the US" and against his revolution.

Castro has lived through 10 US presidents and this weekend blasted his American counterpart
George W. Bush as "apocalyptic," criticizing his Iraq war policy. A day after Bush signed legislation that includes almost $100 billion in emergency spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said that "Bush is an apocalyptic person" only "expresses emotions" and "always fakes rationality." (With BosNewsLife Monitoring and reports from Cuba).

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