The Miami Herald
January 24, 2001

Relatives visit arrested Czechs

Wife of ex-minister held in Cuba hoping for international support

 Associated Press

 HAVANA -- The wife a Czech lawmaker accused in Cuba of acts against state
 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 Cuban authorities
 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 expect to
 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 Republic
 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 their tourist
 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 was a
 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,'' Pilipova said,
 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. Interests
 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 United States
 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 secretary Timothy
 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
 duty there.