Cuban dissident Oscar Espinosa, ex-political prisoner from the Group of 75 jailed in the government's "Black Spring" crackdown of 2003, has been in the intensive care unit of a Cuban clinic since Aug. 24 with liver problems, his wife, Miriam Leiva, told Efe on Monday.

The 71-year-old Espinosa, an economist by profession, was hospitalized with a deterioration of the cirrhosis of the liver he has suffered since before his imprisonment nine years ago, and which got worse during the almost two years he spent behind bars.

"Oscar has been hospitalized for some 10 days, he is receiving good medical care and has improved, but he's still in delicate condition," Leiva said.

For that reason doctors are maintaining a "reserved prognosis" on the state of his health, Leiva said.

Before his latest admission to hospital, "he had been about four months with a pain in his leg from the sciatic nerve and was almost unable to walk," for which he "took painkilling medication" that apparently "affected his liver," Leiva said.

Though he is "conscious," the dissident economist "is receiving treatment with a serum" and since last week that is the only nourishment he has received, a situation that could begin to improve according to the latest analysis made this Monday, Leiva said.

The cirrhosis comes on top of constant gallbladder problems, for which he was operated two years ago.

In recent months the dissident "was constantly writing and analyzing Cuba's economic situation and the socio-political situation" of the island, but "during this last month has been unable to write," Leiva said.

Espinosa, who once worked as an official of the National Bank of Cuba and was an economic adviser to the Cuban Embassy in Belgrade, is one of the 75 members of the opposition imprisoned during the so-called "Black Spring" of 2003. He left jail a year later on parole for health reasons.

The dissident, one of the first of that group to be released, was later locked up in a Guantanamo penitentiary "in very tough conditions...practically the strictest part of the prison," which greatly affected his health, Leiva said. EFE