The government of Cuban President Raul Castro released 26 political dissidents on Thursday, The New York Times reports, citing Cuban human rights sources and journalists. At least some of the freed Cuban are part of the 53 prisoners that Cuba agreed to release as part of the deal with the Obama administration to thaw relations with the Communist island nation.
Neither Cuba nor the U.S. has released the names of the 53 prisoners. "We made a judgment that the best way to secure the release of these individuals is to not name them publicly," since that would "put a target on their backs," explained State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, but the 26 people released on Thursday are "not the first release of individuals on the list." Some of the known dissidents released this week have been in prison since 2012.