The Cuban government is preparing to authorize "dozens" of political opponents to leave the country in the coming weeks, the chairman of the dissident Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation said here Wednesday.
Elizardo Sanchez is in Geneva while the U.N. Human Rights Council is evaluating the situation of basic liberties in Cuba.
Sanchez is the 19th dissident Cuban authorities have permitted to leave the country since January and he is visiting several countries to provide his testimony on the internal situation on the Communist-ruled island.
Regarding the decision by the government of Raul Castro to allow the trips, Sanchez said that it must not be interpreted as a sign of political opening, but rather as the result of a careful "cost-benefit calculation."
"They know what we (opposition figures) are going to say, but everything will remain abroad, nobody's going to learn about it in Cuba because the government is the owner of the communications media, the people have no access to the Internet or to international television," he said.
"The regime has opened the cage and we doves have flow away, but I think that we're all going to return to the cage," Sanchez told a press conference.
The rights activist spent a total of 8 1/2 years in prison during the 1980s and had not been authorized to leave the island for more than a decade.
In its presentation Wednesday to the U.N. council, the Cuban government said it will accept the visit of independent human rights experts, provided those missions are impartial.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez made that offer at the conclusion of the session known as the Universal Periodic Exam, in which all the U.N. member-states subject to the evaluation of their peers their advances and ongoing activities in the area of human rights.
During the initial presentation, the minister discussed Cuba's advances in health, education and nutrition.
In addition, he denounced the 50-year-old U.S. economic embargo against Cuba as a "massive, flagrant and systematic violation of human rights" and emphasized that although the Cuban system must not be considered "a model for anyone," there also does not exist a universal model of democracy. EFE