Relatives visit arrested Czechs
Wife of ex-minister held in Cuba hoping for international support
BY VIVIAN SEQUERA
HAVANA -- The wife a Czech lawmaker accused in Cuba of acts against
security said Tuesday she hoped the international community would work to help
free her husband and another Czech citizen arrested here after meeting with
``I believe in my husband, that he is innocent and I hope that
will free him,'' Lucie Pilipova, wife of former Finance Minister Ivan Pilip, said in
Pilipova, who has visited her husband several times since arriving
in Havana on
Saturday, said Cuban authorities charged her husband and fellow detainee Jan
Bubenik on Thursday with ``acts against state security related to rebellion.''
The men were told on Sunday by a Cuban prosecutor that they could
be held at least 60 days and then could be tried in court, she said.
Pilip, 37, and Bubenik, 32, were arrested on Jan. 12 in Ciego
de Avila, 235 miles
east of Havana, after meeting with two dissidents there.
Cuba's communist government was enraged last April when the Czech
and Poland introduced a motion before the United Nations' human rights body to
censure the Caribbean island for its record on human rights. The motion was later
The Czechs could be turned over to the Cuban courts for violating
visas and for having ``subversive contacts with members of counterrevolutionary
groups,'' the Communist Party daily Granma said last week.
Pilip is a deputy in the Czech Parliament's lower house, and Bubenik
student leader in the 1989 movement that toppled the communist government in
Those who ``grossly violate our laws and try to conspire against
the revolution do
not have the right to impunity no matter what their titles or positions,'' Cuba's
communist newspaper said.
Both prisoners ``are very well, they are being treated very well,''
sitting next to Bubenik's brother, Martin, who traveled with her to Havana. She
said Cuban authorities have let them visit their jailed relatives at Havana's Villa
Marista prison every day for at least an hour.
Separately, Cuban state television Tuesday night accused the U.S.
Section in Havana of promoting subversion on the island and being the
``spearhead'' in what it called Washington's aggressive policy toward Cuba.
The USIS is ``the fundamental bastion of the subversion'' the
wishes to create in Cuba, said Randy Alonso, moderator of the nightly discussion
on current events where the charges were made.
Two USIS officials were named as the principal activists: first
Zúñiga Brown, who worked in Cuba from May 1997 to mid-1999, and second
secretary Victor Vockerodf, who arrived in Cuba in July 1999 and is currently on