A Cuban exile who endured over 28 years in prison and was originally sentenced to death after attempting an armed incursion into the country from Miami, was freed this week.
Humberto Eladio Real Suárez, who had plans to foster an insurgency, was caught with six other Cuban exiles in central Cuba in 1994, Cubanet reported.
Suárez was accused of murdering a man and stealing his car, and sentenced to death by firing squad in 1996.
The others were sentenced to 30 years in prison.
“It has not been easy. I have endured it with great patience and thank God my parents were always by my side,” he told the independent news outlet after his release on Thursday
The 54-year-old was let out of Agüica prison, in the province of Matanzas, with a safe-conduct.
Suárez, who was arrested at 26, saw his sentence commuted by the People’s Supreme Court of Cuba in 2010 to 30 years behind bars due to international pressure.
He ended up serving 28 years and 5 months of the sentence, according to the St. Kitts and Nevis Observer.
He was considered among the political prisoners who had served the longest in the Western Hemisphere.
While serving time, he endured torture and mock firing squads, but was more frightened for his family than himself.
“If I was ever afraid, it was for my family, for the things that we know are happening in Cuba,” he said.
His daughter, Lizandra Real, 34, told the Miami Herald she was thrilled with the news.
“I am so happy. I haven’t talked to him in several years; I cried a lot,” she said.
“My father is my hero.”
In 2020, he was presented with the “Pedro Luis Boitel Freedom Award”, an annual honor bestowed by the Cuban Democratic Directorate, a Miami-based human rights group, in recognition “of the exceptional work and leadership of the resistance within Cuba that promotes a change towards democracy.”
Suárez plans to leave Cuba and return to the United States, where his daughter, brother and other family members live.
“I intend to travel to the land of freedom, to the United States, and take all my family with me,” he said.
“That is why I beg all my compatriots to expedite what they can to help me so that I can be there as soon as possible.”
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