Monday, August 23, 2010

Six Months Later: Orlando Zapata Vive! Orlando Zapata Lives!

Orlando Zapata Tamayo

"The Cuban regime murdered my friend and brother, Orlando Zapata Tamayo. It did so in a vile, cowardly, premeditated and deliberate manner. They underestimated the stature of this man, who was tried and sentenced to death for the color of his skin and the color of his ideas. Orlando Zapata has loomed large. He has marked a before and an after. I think it is a light that was turned on in the midst of a dark tunnel." -Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta, prisoner of conscience deported to Spain

Six months since Orlando Zapata Tamayo lost his life in his years long struggle with a brutal dictatorship that sought to deny him his human rights and dignity. Following his death the regime released video tapes secretly taped of Orlando in his cell and his mother Reina Luisa Zapata Tamayo Danger as she sought to save her son's life. The heavily edited tapes were the regime's desperate attempt to avoid responsibility for the atrocity, but the terrible truth could not be covered up because Reina refused to remain silent despite the death threats and physical assaults she continued to speak out.

The knowledge of many activists about the real Orlando Zapata Tamayo exposed the Castro dictatorship's slanderous campaign for what it is: a vile attempt to smear the memory of a good man locked up for non-violently protesting his friends unjust arrest. The details of what constitutes a hunger strike and how it is carried out were carefully examined and debated.

Video tributes appeared for Orlando Zapata Tamayo and artists got together to project Orlando's image on buildings around the world with a healthy number of them on Cuban diplomatic missions.

Today, prayers are said for Orlando Zapata Tamayo and on twitter people of goodwill the world over proclaim with hash marks #ZapataVive , #OZT , and #Zapata . Over the past six months on the 23rd of each month activists the world over have gathered to remember his passing and demand justice and freedom for Cuba. The world is paying attention, and the dictatorship is terrified by the attention.

Six months later the world knows much more about Orlando Zapata Tamayo and his sacrifice and of the civic non-violent movement that he represented. His mother, Reina Luisa Tamayo, will not allow him to be forgotten.

One year ago today this blog first came on-line never suspecting that six months later it would be one of the many sites to bear witness to the life and death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo.

Below are additional video tributes and testimonies on the life and death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo. Our prayers are with him and his family.

Marc Masferrer's video tribute to Orlando Zapata Tamayo posted today on his site Uncommon Sense to remember this tragic 6-month anniversary.

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