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European Governments Demand Answers From Cuba


Arnold Vaatz speaks to journalists at Madrid's Barajas airport after being expelled from Cuba along with Czech Senator Karel Schwarzenberg
European officials have reacted angrily to Cuba's expulsion of two lawmakers and the detention of at least two Polish journalists ahead of a dissident assembly.

The German and Czech foreign ministries summoned Cuban diplomats to seek an explanation. And Poland summoned the Cuban ambassador to demand the release of its citizens.

On Thursday, Cuban authorities expelled one legislator from Germany, Arnold Vaatz and one from the Czech Republic Senator Karel Schwarzenberg. The men had planned to attend a dissident conference set to begin Friday in Havana.

The detained Polish journalists were planning to report on the meeting. The dissidents are seeking democratic reforms after decades of Communist rule.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro has characterized the dissidents as "mercenaries" bankrolled by the United States.

European officials warn that Havana's actions could damage relations between Cuba and the European Union.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.