Three of the released activists freed by Cuba had been recognized as prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International, including the twins Bianco Vargas Martín and Diango Vargas Martín, who had been imprisoned for “public disorder” offences.
In the days following the initial releases, the Cuban authorities reportedly released dozens of other political prisoners. In total, it is believed 53 were released as relations thawed between Cuba and the USA.
Government repression in Cuba has long stifled freedom of expression and led to hundreds of arrests and detention. Journalists and political activists faced harassment and intimidation by security officials.