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Prominent Cuban dissident allowed to visit Argentina

Latest update : 2009-06-13

Prominent Cuban neurosurgeon Hilda Molina has said she received permission to leave Cuba to visit family in Argentina, 15 years after breaking ranks with former leader Fidel Castro over the communist-ruled nation's healthcare system.

AFP - Cuban dissident Hilda Molina has been cleared to leave the island to travel to Argentina, where her mother, son and grandchildren live, President Cristina Kirchner told reporters on Friday.
Molina, 65 -- an internationally recognized neurosurgeon, former member of Cuba's Communist Party and an ex-lawmaker -- has been fighting Cuban authorities since 1994 for the right to visit family in Buenos Aires.
"We appreciate this important gesture by President Raul Castro's government," Kirchner said.
She "already has a passport issued by Cuban authorities and also permission to leave the country for Argentina," the president said.
Molina is renowned as a pioneer in the transplant of fetal stem cells into the brains of patients with Parkinson's disease. She ran afoul of President Fidel Castro's Communist regime in 1994 when she raised ethical concerns about the process.
Facing persecution for her beliefs, she renounced her Communist Party membership and joined a dissident doctors' group.
In Havana, Molina said Cuba's move allowing her to travel was a "civilized, logical and rational act."
"Everyone knows my criticism against the Cuban government ... now when I say that I want to see my son, that has no political connotation," Molina said.
Molina also said that she wanted to see her ailing aged mother, Hilda Morejon, 90, who was allowed to travel to Argentina in 2008.
Molina will fly out on a commercial flight on Saturday, Cuban officials said.
Cuban political dissidents were unimpressed with the government's move.
Vladimiro Roca, a leading voice in the dissident community, derided it as a "minimum act of humanity," and said it was more akin to the release of a hostage than any gesture.
Another prominent dissident and friend of Molina, Martha Beatriz Roque, said that the authorization was neither an achievement of the Kirchner administration nor a gesture from the Cuban government because it was brokered by the Catholic church.

Date created : 2009-06-13