Martha Frayde, co-founder of Cuba’s human rights movement, dies

Repeating Islands

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Martha Frayde Barraqué, a founder and leading figure of Cuba’s human rights movement and a sharp critic of the Fidel and Raúl Castro governments for decades, died Wednesday in Madrid, Spain, Juan Tamayo reports for The Miami Herald. She was 93 years old.

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.

But she turned against him as Castro imposed a communist system on the island, denied human and civil rights to its citizens and jailed tens of thousands who opposed his rule peacefully.

“I wanted to do something big for my country,” she told El Nuevo Herald in a 2008 interview. “Castro fooled us all, starting with me. The visionaries [who foresaw Castro’s dictatorship] from the start were a minority.”

As a dictator, she added, Castro made Batista “look small.”

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