Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Martha Frayde Barraque | Castro critic, 93

Martha Frayde Barraque, 93, a founder and leading figure of Cuba's human-rights movement and a sharp critic of the Fidel and Raul Castro governments for decades, died Wednesday in Madrid.

Ms. Frayde started out like many Cubans as an enthusiastic supporter of Fidel Castro even before his revolution toppled the Fulgencio Batista dictatorship in 1959 and promised democracy. She turned against him as Castro imposed a communist system on the island, denied rights to its citizens, and jailed tens of thousands who opposed his rule peacefully.

Castro later named her Cuba's ambassador to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, a post she resigned in 1965.

She began openly criticizing Castro and in 1976 founded the first peaceful opposition group on the island, the Cuban Committee for Human Rights, with Ricardo Bofill.

Ms. Frayde was arrested in 1975, accused of "counterrevolutionary" activities and sentenced to 29 years in prison. Under international pressures, Castro freed her in 1979 after she agreed to leave the country. She went into exile in Spain, where she remained the European representative for the Cuban Committee for Human Rights. - Miami Herald
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