The Miami Herald
January 20, 2001

Wife and brother of detained Czechs travel to Cuba

 PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- (AP) -- The wife of a Czech legislator arrested in
 Cuba left for Havana Saturday with the brother of another detainee in a quest for
 their release.

 Ivan Pilip, a former finance minister and currently deputy in the Czech
 Parliament's lower house, and Jan Bubenik, a student leader in the 1989
 movement that toppled the communist government in Prague, were arrested Jan.
 12 in a central Cuban province after meeting Cuban pro-democracy dissidents.

 The two are expected to be put on trial for unspecified subversive activities and for
 ``being American agents,'' according to the Cuban Communist party daily

 Lucie Pilipova, wife of the jailed lawmaker, told Czech radio before her departure
 that she would ``try to contact Cuban officials and seek access to the prison.''

 Jan Bubenich's brother, Martin, added: ``We have only one goal, and that is to
 give them strength.''

 The Czech Foreign Ministry said Cuba is not providing any official information on
 the condition of the two prisoners or the charges they face.

 The detention triggered a worldwide campaign to win their release.

 Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan appealed the European Union for help, Prime
 Minister Milos Zeman wrote a personal letter to Cuban leader Fidel Castro and
 President Vaclav Havel is reportedly asking the Pope to mediate.

 Havel, himself a longtime anti-Communist dissident, called the charges fabricated
 and condemned the act as politically motivated.

 In Germany, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on Saturday called on Cuba to free
 the pair.

 The ministry said the Cuban ambassador to Germany, Marcelino Medina, would
 be summoned to deliver the appeal, while the German ambassador to Cuba was
 expected to do the same in Havana later in the day.