Thursday, September 23, 2010

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

"Still obtuse forces of the tyranny are thrown at a heroic mother who had to bury her son who was killed for defending a cause that was just."- The Declaration of Móstoles , September 5, 2010

"I’ve learned of the death of hunger striker Franklin Brito. It appears that Hugo Chavez now has his own Orlando Zapata" - Yoani Sanchez, August 31, 2010 on twitter

Seven months have passed since the world learned on that afternoon in late February that a man had died on a hunger strike defending human rights and dignity. The dictatorship in Cuba had counted on no one paying attention to the plight of a bricklayer and carpenter who had engaged in grassroots human rights activism, but he was not a leader of a movement, but a humble activist.

The regime's state security had not counted on Reina Luisa Tamayo who would speak out for her son and defend her son's life until the end. When the dictatorship tried to smear her late son's good name she continued and continues to this day demanding justice for him and setting the record straight as to who Orlando Zapata Tamayo was.

Seven months later Reina has a blog and a twitter account and is attending mass on Sunday's and visiting her son's grave despite state security operations designed to intimidate and on more than one occasion physically assault her, her family, and friends trying to join her in remembering Orlando Zapata Tamayo.

Now the dictatorship may have thought that after seven months people would start to forget their heinous crime, and they would be able to get away with crushing Reina Luisa Tamayo and the rest of Orlando Zapata Tamayo's family. They were wrong.

On September 12, 2010 around the world in Brussels, Madrid, Miami, Tampa, Los Angeles, Santiago, and elsewhere people of good will marched in solidarity with Reina Luisa Tamayo and in memory of Orlando Zapata Tamayo. Historic figures of the Cuban Revolution such as Huber Matos spoke out on her behalf in Madrid and Juan Juan Almeida, son of Juan Almeida, spoke up for her in Miami. Videos of the events were uploaded on to youtube and are available below:

Huber Matos in Madrid at Rally in Support of Reina Luisa Tamayo on September 12, 2010

Rally for Reina Luisa Tamayo in Madrid, Spain on September 12, 2010

Marc Masferrer of Uncommon Sense speaks at Rally for Reina Luisa Tamayo in Tampa on September 12, 2010.

Video from demonstrations for Reina Luisa Tamayo in Miami, FL followed by images from Los Angeles, Brussels, Tampa, and elsewhere on September 12, 2010

When Venezuelan patriot and human rights defender Franklin Brito died after a prolonged hunger strike and being kidnapped by Venezuelan security Orlando Zapata Tamayo's name was immediately given as a point of reference. Yoani Sanchez on her twitter account announced:"I’ve learned of the death of hunger striker Franklin Brito. It appears that Hugo Chavez now has his own Orlando Zapata."

Just a few days earlier on Saturday, August 23, 2010 the documentary Zapata Vive! premiered at the Roca Theater at Belen to a huge audience. Portions of the introduction to the documentary have been posted on youtube as well.

They would like us to forget but we still remember and we will continue to speak out about the facts in evidence that proves the heinous crime that the dictatorship in Cuba committed against an innocent man and the ongoing campaign against his family. Orlando Zapata Tamayo died on February 23, 2010 after a lengthy water only hunger strike and agents of the Castro regime in an effort to break his spirit denied him water for 18 days contributing to his death, but failed to break his spirit.

Orlando Zapata Tamayo lives on wherever a man is willing to stand up and resist evil without engaging in evil through non-violent civic resistance. Orlando Zapata's path is the same path taken by Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. it is the path of righteousness. It is a path being taken today by Cuban dissident Vladimir Alejo Miranda who has been on hunger strike for more than 60 days demanding his right to work.

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