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Posted January 26, 2005 by Cubana in Castro's Cuba

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Article in the Tallahassee Democrat

Posted on Tue, Jan. 25, 2005

Reporters sans Borders: jailed Cuban journalist needs TB medicine

Associated Press

HAVANA - An independent journalist jailed in Cuba needs six months of treatment for tuberculosis, Reporters Without Borders said Tuesday.

Normando Hernandez, sentenced to 25 years in prison after a crackdown on Cuban dissidents in March of 2003, was reportedly transferred from prison to a hospital in the western province of Pinar del Rio for his condition earlier this month.

Hernandez’s wife, Yarai Reyes Marin, was allowed to visit him at the hospital, where she was told he needed the treatment, Hernandez’s mother, Blanca Gonzalez, told Reporters Without Borders.

But according to a news release from the Paris-based advocacy group, Reyes told Gonzalez the prisoner was not getting the special diet he requires.

Hernandez’s relatives could not be immediately located for comment and there was no independent confirmation of the prisoner’s condition or whereabouts.

Hernandez, head of an independent news agency in the eastern provincial capital of Camaguey, was among 75 government opponents - including 26 journalists - picked up in the crackdown.

They were all accused of being mercenaries working with the United States to undermine Fidel Castro’s government - a charge the dissidents and U.S. officials denied.

Fourteen of the original 75 have since been released on parole for health reasons, including internationally known writer and poet Raul Rivero.

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