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Anti castro aid

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Group Sends Aid to Cuban Dissidents
Mon Jul 22, 1:18 PM ET

MIAMI (AP) - The leader of a powerful anti-Castro group says it has sent about $1 million in cash, computers and other aid to dissidents and families in Cuba over the past 18 months.

Jorge Mas Santos said the Cuban American National Foundation is using Puerto Rico and Mexico as staging centers, and it has a network of hundreds of dissidents representing every province in Cuba.

He declined to provide a breakdown of the assistance.

"Cash is not the majority of it," he said. "We've sent a lot of computers, a lot of faxes, a lot of books for the independent libraries."

Mas Santos was unopposed Sunday in winning a fourth term as chairman of the group founded by his father. During its annual board meeting, members said they are refocusing resources to activities in Cuba instead of looking north to Washington.

The foundation has focused for years on maintaining the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba and shunning any U.S. political openings with Fidel Castro ( news - web sites)'s communist regime.

By shifting its efforts south, Mas Santos told The Miami Herald, the organization has harnessed Cuban uncertainty over the future caused by Castro's brief fainting spell last June.

Since then, he said, the foundation has expanded contacts with "a young generation of civil government members and people in the military who do want a democratic change" and aim for "a bloodless, peaceful transition in Cuba."


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