Pro-govt crowd harass Cuban rights activists

Cuba also freed dissident Diosdado Gonzalez, 48, an electrician by trade.

Havana: The Cuban government released a political prisoner even as some 200 pro-government activists harassed the wives of other jailed dissidents at a protest march.

"Get out, get out, you pack of worms," were among insults pro-government activists chanted at the Ladies in White group pushing for the release of their loved ones by the only one-party communist regime in the Americas.

The Ladies, winners of the 2005 Sakharov rights prize from the European Parliament, were marching in white as they do most Sundays when they were targeted by counter-demonstrators.

The pro-government crowd also chanted at the second secretary at the US Interests Section, Lowell Dale Lawton, who was following the Ladies` protest at a distance.

"Come pick up your rats!" the Cuban government supporters chanted at the US diplomat.

"They were out marching ... and now that mob has them surrounded," said Angel Moya, a former political prisoner freed just 10 days ago.

Meanwhile, Cuba on Sunday also freed dissident Diosdado Gonzalez, 48, an electrician by trade, was one of six dissidents left from a group of 75 imprisoned in a 2003 crackdown.

Gonzalez, who is a member of the outlawed Peace, Democracy and Freedom Party, went on several hunger strikes while in prison, according to his wife Alejandrina Garcia, a member of the Ladies in White.

The harassment of the women`s group came less than a day after state media revealed that it had been infiltrated by a state security agent posing as a friendly, independent journalist.

The agent, Carlos Serpa, claimed the Ladies in White were funded by anti-Castro groups in Miami and the US diplomatic mission here. A US Interests Section functions in place of an embassy as the two countries do not have full diplomatic ties.

Bureau Report