From an Amnesty International report, "Cuba: Political Imprisonment -- An Update" (January):
It is difficult to estimate the number of political prisoners held in Cuba today. . . . Amnesty International has the names of some 600 prisoners, about half of whom are held at Combinado del Este Men's Prison in Havana. However, the real figure is believed to be higher. The organization is currently working for the release of 13 prisoners of conscience.
Long-term prisoners have continued to be released over the past few months, and it is hoped that all of the remaining plantados historicos, "historical plantados," will benefit from the recent immigration agreement . . . by which the United States agreed to accept a certain number of Cuban political prisoners and their families each year. (The term "plantados" is applied to political prisoners who have rejected certain aspects of the prison regime.) In January 1988, the first of the 348 current and former political prisoners on a list presented to the Cuban authorities by the U.S. Catholic Confer-ence started arriving in the United States.
All of the plantados historicos formerly held at Boniato and Kilo 7 prisons were transferred to Combinado del Este Prison in May 1987, where conditions for them have reportedly improved to a certain extent. . . . About 65 plantados historicos are believed to be still in detention. . . . It is difficult to know how many prisoners are in the group of nuevos plantados, "new plantados," held in Combinado del Este -- estimates range from 23 to some 50 or 60. However, conditions for them appear to have changed little in recent months, with reports still being received that medical attention is inadequate, and that fresh air, exercise, family visits and correspondence are seriously restricted, because of their refusal to participate in the "re-education" program.