Sunday, May 23, 2010

90 Days after his death Orlando Zapata Tamayo's demands may finally be met

Zapata Lives! Viva Zapata!

Ninety days ago on February 23, 2010 Cuban prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo died after spending more than 80 days on a water only hunger strike demanding that the prison conditions for political prisoners be improved. His death has not been in vain. Despite attempts by the Cuban dictatorship and their fellow travelers to smear Orlando Zapata Tamayo's good name.

The truth of Orlando's status as an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience and non-violent human rights activists has been confirmed. International attention has remained focused on Cuba following Orlando's death along with the brutalization of the Ladies in White less than a month later led to an international outcry. It has also led to the questioning of the position of regime apologists. The Associated Press reported today and Reuters yesterday that the Cuban regime will transfer political prisoners closer to their homes and give medical attention to some of the political prisoners. Orlando Zapata Tamayo's hunger strike demands appear to have been met, unfortunately it is 90 days too late.

On the eve of the 7th anniversary of Cuba's Black Spring, Amnesty International "called on the Cuban authorities to revoke laws that restrict freedom of expression, assembly and association and to release all dissidents unfairly detained by the authorities. " The only way to avoid that the release of one group of unjustly imprisoned dissidents only open up spaces for another group of nonviolent dissidents being imprisoned for exercising their fundamental rights is to join Amnesty's call for an end to the laws that outlaw free expression, assembly, and association.

Meanwhile on May 20, 2010 at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington D.C. the image of Orlando Zapata Tamayo was projected on the facade of the Cuban mission in Washington DC. It is a performance art piece by Cuban artist Geandy Pavon.

Zapata Vive! Zapata Lives!

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