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Freed Cuban dissident vows to continue democracy fight

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Cuban dissident Arnaldo Ramos, just hours after his release from prison 13 November 2010 AFP

A Cuban dissident economist just freed after years in prison and refusing to go into exile, Sunday slammed the communist government saying chaos was looming if Cuba did not launch economic and political change.


"I'll be involved in the same activities I did before they sent me to prison, which were not criminal but opposition in nature", Arnaldo Ramos, told reporters.

Ramos is the oldest member of a group of 75 opponents of the Cuban government arrested in a 2003 crackdown on dissidents.

Under a deal brokered by the Catholic Church, President Raul Castro agreed in July to release 52 of the political prisoners who were still held.

Of those, 39 were let go after agreeing to emigrate to Spain with their families, but the remaining 13 refused to be exiled.

“I will stay in the country and continue my political activity," Ramos said shortly after his release.

"We're going from stagnation to chaos if we don't see at least a real economic opening-up, although it should also be political," Ramos warned, noting his continued antagonism for longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro, still the Cuban Communist Party chief.

The government considers the opposition "mercenaries" in Washington's pocket. It insists there are no political prisoners in the Caribbean nation but rather criminals jailed for threatening national security.