The following entry is an open letter written by the mother of political prisoner, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, together with other figures from Cuba’s dissidence. It is directed to US president Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former Polish president Lech Walesa.
It is taken from the web site, Uncommon Sense.
Save Orlando Zapata Tamayo
Open Letter from the Alternative Republican Movement
Barack H. Obama
President of the United States of America
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Former President of Poland
February 13th, 2010
On April of 1959 the newly established dictator, Fidel Castro, visited various universities of the country and when students asked him what political system will reign in Cuba, he responded with: “neither capitalism nor socialism, in Cuba humanism will reign”. Today, after more than half a century in power, the world knows the true history: Hunger, misery, executions, political prisoners, and exile.
In these very moments, the life of the prisoner of conscience, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, is in a very serious state of danger. This distinguished black activist has been on hunger strike for than two months in demand for better prison conditions. He has been condemned to 56 years and 6 months of prison through rigged military trials, without any guarantees, lawyers, or even the presence of any family members- all of this for the simple act of defending the rights and freedoms that are denied to his people, and for his non-conformist posture in the face of the arbitrary and viscous actions carried out by the penal authorities and the political police.
Since 2003, Orlando Zapata Tamayo has been in various prisons of the country, from Pinar del Rio to Holguin. He has taken part in various hunger strikes, the longest being in the provincial prison of Holguin for 47 days, in which he lost 63 pounds. In all of these prisons he has received continuous beatings. We should also point out that in 7 years of prison, he has only been allowed 506 hours of sunlight.
The brutal beatings from which he has been victim of have left him grave consequences. On March 23rd, 2009 he was operated from a serious bruise on his head which was product of a beating given to him a year prior in March of 2008, seeing that he had already been denied medical assistance. The last three physical aggressions were due to the fact that he had a book titled “Voces Tras Las Rejas”.
Through such websites like PayoLibre.com, Miscelanesdecuba.net, Cubademocraciayvida.org, Martinoticias.com, and others, the independent press gave coverage to the civic protests carried out by Zapato Tamayo, vice president of our organization. Also, we want to signal out that during the hunger strike started on September 24th, in which he demanded his right to 25 minutes of telephone calls directed by those who run Castro’s gulags, Zapata spent 6 days without drinking water. The henchmen of the regime told him not to ask for water because they would give him water mixed with detergent. But it doesn’t end here.
In the third strike, October 26th 2009, they gave him a wound on his head without having any consideration for his recent surgery. This time, demonstrating their despicable nature, the regime’s henchmen told him: “We’re gonna finish with this nigger”. This demonstrates the level of discrimination in Cuba, which is intensified if it is an opposer of the system.
After a tremendous amount of beatings, this titan of the times was taken to the prison of maximum severity known as Kilo 8 in the province of Camaguey, where the current hunger strike began. Due to his state of health he was taken to the provincial hospital of Camaguey. The latest news received from Cuba, through the Ladies in White, informs us that he is currently in the Intensive Care unit of that hospital.
We also observe, with worry, the viciousness against the political prisoner Juan Ramon Rivero Despaigne, member of our movement as well, sentenced under the cause of the 146 of 2009 for a supposed crimed of disrespect. This time he shall be subdued to a new trial for causing an attempt when in reality, it was him trying to defend himself from a beating by his own jailers after he demanded medical attention. Prior to this he had served 2 years in prison. His position as an opposer of the system is the true reason for all these condemnations.
This is the humanism that they promised the Cuban people.
On the 27th of January of this year, democracy was consolidated in Honduras within a matter of only 7 months of crisis. On the other hand, Cuba bears 613 months of tyranny without having unanimous and blunt voices going against it, which is how it ironically happened when it dealt against the rights of the republic of Honduras in respecting its laws and constitution. The celebrated meeting in Nicaragua in favor of the destituted president, which counted on the presence of the Cuban ruler Raul Castro, constituted the most hypocritical and insolent act in modern history, demonstrating the international conspiracy that exists and persists with the Castro-communist dictatorship and has lasted so many years, much to the disgrace of the Cuban people.
We, the undersigned, are making a calling to solidarity to unite your voices in an international campaign to save the life of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, defender of human rights and freedom, for the freedom of all the political prisoners, and for the return of democracy to Cuba.
Awaiting your responses.
Wishing you success and sincerely gratifying beforehand.
Signing are members of the Alternative Republican Movement.
Humberto Montoya Portuondo
Reina Tamayo Danger
Lady in White
Mother of Orlando Zapata
Ricardo Rodriguez Borrero
Member of the directory
Daniel Escalona Martinez
Jose Antonio Sanchez Santoyo
President of functions-Cuba
Carlos Agustin Martinez Chaviano
Isnel Basulto Verdecia