The Catholic Church in Cuba has said the government is set to release 52 political prisoners and allow them to leave the country.
Word came following a meeting between Raul Castro, the Cuban president, and Cardinal Jaime Ortega, the Catholic archbishop, and other Spanish officials on Tuesday, but there has been no confirmation from the government.
Miguel Angel Moratinos, the Spanish foreign minister who has been visiting Cuba, said the decision "opens a new era" in the communist country.
If confirmed, the move will be the largest release of political prisoners since 1998, when 101 dissidents were freed following a visit by Pope John Paul II.
Al Jazeera's Teresa Bo reports. (08 July, 2010)