The Miami Herald: Omar Rodríguez Saludes: "I left behind part of my family. I feel like I still have the cuffs on my hands.''posted on Thursday, July 15, 2010
By JUAN O. TAMAYO
jtamayo@ElNuevoHerald.comTwo newly freed Cuban political prisoners arrived in Madrid on Wednesday, joining seven others just beginning to feel the shock of leaving their country and to consider whether they want to stay in Spain or move on to the United States.
One of the latest arrivals, Omar Rodríguez Saludes, told reporters he feels "like I was still in prison" because "I left behind part of my family. I feel like I still have the cuffs on my hands."
Rodríguez, 45, and Normando Hernández, 40, arrived Wednesday and were expected to be followed soon by Luis Milán and Mijail Barzaga. They would join the seven other political prisoners who were freed earlier this week and flown to Spain.
Hernández held a tearful reunion with his mother, Blanca González, who flew in from Miami. "I am very tense, very nervous, very emotional," González said.
Hernandez said that while he was ecstatic to see his mother, "I am an emotional wreck, and physically also. This has been terrible. I would not wish it on anyone."
"Everything has been a shock. I always thought the future would be in Cuba, not in exile," Rodriguez said. The change "has been abrupt, from a prison cell to the light of the airplane."
The ex-prisoners and the relatives they took with them to Spain were just beginning to consider their futures from a hotel in Madrid where the Spanish Red Cross put them up.
Omar Ruiz told The Associated Press that he wanted to join his wife's family in Miami. But José Luis García Paneque, who has a wife and four children in Texas, and Pablo Pacheco, who has several relatives in South Florida, said they want to stay in Spain for now.
"The only thing I ask of the Spanish people is the opportunity," Garcia declared. "Where I come from, no one had paid me so much attention."