The Rev. Jesse Jackson says Cuban President Fidel Castro has promised to consider freeing some political prisoners and to let his granddaughter emigrate to the United States if her family agrees.

Jackson also denounced the U.S. trade embargo of Cuba, saying it caused malnutrition on the communist island and created a climate of fear that contributed to security crackdowns on dissidents.Cuba's parliament was in the midst of a major session on economic policy Tuesday aimed at reforms to help rescue a country devastated by the loss of Soviet aid.

Jackson made the comments Monday at a news conference in Havana after meeting with Castro.

"In our talks with Fidel Castro, we made strong and fervent appeals for political reform, for greater popular participation and for the freedom to dissent," Jackson said. "But the U.S. embargo is driving (Cuba's) domestic politics and dictating economic options."

Jackson said he submitted a list of prisoners "and made an appeal for release. This appeal is under consideration."

He also raised the request of Castro's daughter, Alina Fernandez Revuelta, who last week defected to the United States. She asked that her 16-year-old daughter, also named Alina, be granted permission to join her.

"Castro stated that his granddaughter is free to go with her family or her father's consent," Jackson said.

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"She is presently with relatives. He said that if her father and grandmother give the OK, she can leave immediately."

There was no immediate word on how the father, Fernando Salgado, a dancer who retired in September from the Cuban National Ballet, would respond.

The United States has maintained a trade embargo on Cuba for more than 30 years, arguing that the island's Communist leaders must allow free, multiparty elections and end oppression of dissidents.

Cuban leaders vow to maintain a one-party Communist system.

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