A verdict was expected within days after the one-day trial of the three men and one woman ended Monday evening.
The ruling could hold international repercussions for Cuba, which is trying to break out of its political and economic isolation and assume a higher profile on the world stage.
The prosecution recommended a six-year sentence for lead defendant Vladimiro Roca and five-year terms for the three others. Family members say the four rejected government offers to go into exile rather than face trial.
``Vladimiro has expressed his optimism to me,'' said Roca's wife, Magaly de Armas. ``But he never thought he would be let free without sanctions.''
The defendants -- three men and one woman -- were arrested in July 1997 for criticizing a Communist Party document that they said did not present solutions to Cuba's severe economic problems.
They are also accused of encouraging Cubans not to vote in that year's elections, holding two news conferences with foreign media, exhorting foreign businessmen not to invest in Cuba and asking Cuban exiles to encourage their kin on the island to undertake acts of civil disobedience.
On trial were Roca, a former military pilot and son of the late Cuban Communist Party leader Blas Roca; lawyer Rene Gomez Manzano; engineer Felix Bonne; and economist Marta Beatriz Roque.
Communist officials insist there are no political prisoners in this island nation of 11 million people, only those jailed for common crimes. They reject the characterization of the four as prisoners of conscience.
The case has drawn expressions of concern from the United States, Europe and the Vatican.
When Pope John Paul II visited Cuba in January 1998, he called for fundamental freedoms and respect for human rights. More than 80 prisoners were freed after his visit, including 12 who were forced to leave Cuba as a condition of release.
Cuba plans to welcome King Juan Carlos II of Spain in the spring and play host to the Ibero-American Summit in the fall -- events that diplomats say could be damaged if the international community perceives Cuba is growing less tolerant of diverse voices.
In Washington, State Department spokesman James Foley said Monday that the trial and detentions ``underscore the deplorable human rights conditions in Cuba.''
``We strongly denounce these actions by the Cuban government, which reveal its utter disregard of the concerns of the international community, which has insisted that the four be released,'' he said.
Family members said many of the dissidents' supporters were detained by security agents in recent days, apparently to prevent protests outside the court. In Miami, a coalition of Cuban exile groups charged that scores of dissidents were rounded up.
The head of the U.S. diplomatic mission to Cuba, Michael Kozak, was barred from Monday's trial. Journalists were also excluded.
Just nine of the defendants' relatives were allowed to attend, along with the attorneys and court officers, De Armas said.
Since the four were arrested, the government has passed a broadly worded law aimed at silencing dissidents who promote U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba. Those convicted can face up to 20 years in prison.
That law and a roundup of independent journalists has alarmed free press advocates.
Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based press freedoms watchdog, said at least eight Cuban journalists have been detained to prevent them from covering the trial. A ninth is missing and could also have been detained.
``This new attack on independent journalists, and thus press freedom,'' could bring repercussions, said Argentine journalist Jorge Fascetto, president of the Inter American Press Association, formed by editors and publishers from across the Americas.
© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press