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Not content with deporting the recently released political prisoners, the Cuban government is now expelling from his land the exhumed remains of Orlando Zapata Tamayo. The procedure has been the same: make life impossible for the family and offer them the tantalizing solution of exile. They repeat, in this way, the well-known recipe of launching the pack against defenseless people in order to appear themselves, at the perfect moment, to save them from the irate claws of their front line troops disguised as “angry people.”

The foreign press accredited in Cuba, eager for their reports to lead the news, will enjoy the privilege of interviewing the martyr’s mother at the airport to confirm the falsehood that, ultimately, all the fuss was just for this. With the intention of organizing this scene, unauthorized people have assured Reina Tamayo that everything is already arranged for her to travel to the United States, when in fact the Interest Section of this country hasn’t even received a formal request for the visa.

Representatives of the Cuban Catholic Church collaborated in the task of persuading Orlando’s mother that everything was ready to end the ordeal that the political police had condemned her to: facing the organized pickets — Sunday after Sunday — who prevent her from going to the cemetery and the temple of Banes. They absolved her of continuing her sacrifice, pardoned her sins, and showed her that the path to her cross led in the opposite direction. The day of the exhumation will be the one year anniversary of the beatification of Padre Olallo, and also one year since, in a punishment cell in Kilo 7 Prison in Camaguey, Zapata Tamayo chose immolation over submission.

Time will pass, and one day we will receive, as if we earned it, what remains by then of the inconvenient corpse of this man, who left not a single memorable phrase in writing, nor was he the leader of anyone, but he made us ashamed of our daily cowardice.


Last weekend I conducted an interview with Guillermo Fariñas, which can be read shortly in the journal Coexistence. Among the questions that might become old news by the time the conversation is published, is this one which I am putting here on my blog. I share Fariñas’ optimism and apprehensions on this subject, and consider it a topic of enormous importance, because the release from prison of the final opponent would mark a milestone on the path to a claim we have made so many times: Let differences be decriminalized!

Reinaldo Escobar: With only a few days left to comply with the government’s promise to release all the prisoners from the Black Spring, there are still 13 of them behind bars. They are those who have declared their intention not to leave the country. What is your point of view on this situation?

Guillermo Fariñas: With regards to the thirteen still in prison today, I would like to abuse your time and mention all of their names. They are: José Daniel Ferrer García, his brother Luis Enrique, Pedro Argüelles Morán, Librado Hilario García, Angel Moya Acosta, Diosdado González Marrero, Félix Navarro Rodríguez, Iván Hernández Carrillo, Guido Sigler Amaya, Eduardo Díaz Fleitas, Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, Arnaldo Ramos Lausurí and Oscar Elías Gonzalez Biscet.

With regards to these people, all variables are possible, especially now that the European Union decided not to lift their Common Position with respect to Cuba which, from my point of view, was one of the government’s objectives for these releases. I’m going to risk telling you that I am hopeful they will be released from prison even though they do not want to leave the country. The Government is already aware that if they do not fulfill their promise, at least six of these thirteen will declare themselves on hunger strike as of November 10. That is, they will give the government 72-hours grace to comply with the offer, and if it is not met, they are going to take a stand along with some wives and other opponents.

I have the impression that the authorities are going to do everything possible to avoid an international scandal putting Cuba back in the public spotlight. I am hopeful, but I do not forget that the exercise of power, over more than fifty years, creates a sense of arrogance that at times makes those who want to exercise absolute power in this way lose track of reality.

Link to Original Blog in Spanish

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Reinaldo Escobar (1947), an independent journalist since 1989, writes from Cuba where he was born and continues to live. He received his degree in Journalism from the University of Havana in 1971 and subsequently worked for different Cuban publications. His articles can be found in various European publications, and in the digital magazines "Cuba Encuentro" and "Contodos."

Desde Aquí/From Here is a personal undertaking born from the need to write about those topics that fill my head every day but that cannot find a space in the official Cuban media.

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