Monday, December 28, 2015

Cuban political prisoner near death on hunger strike: Day 80

SOS for Cuban political prisoner

Vladimir Morera Bacallao on hunger strike in Cuba
Unjustly imprisoned and mistreated Vladimir Morera Bacallao was arrested and sentenced to four years in prison for writing on the wall of his home, “I vote for my freedom and not in elections where I cannot elect my president.” He has been on hunger strike since October 9th demanding his freedom and today marks 80 days and Vladimir's family is reporting that he does not recognize them and his eyes are fixed. 

On December 22, 2015 Radio República reported that Cuban political prisoner Vladimir Morera Bacallao had finally been transferred from Guamajal prison to "Arnaldo Milian" provincial hospital in the city of Santa Clara in serious condition. Vladimir's wife, Maribel Herrera reported to Diario de Cuba that "He is very weak and delicate, weighing 45 kilos, and is still on hunger strike, not eating anything, drinks little water and won't allow them to feed him intravenously.  

Family members have not been able to visit with Vladimir during long stretches of the hunger strike. This is a practice that has been carried out as punishment against other Cuban activists who have died on hunger strikes in Cuba in recent years.

Meanwhile Castro regime trolls over social media are engaged in slandering the dying former independent labor activist and current member of the Cuban Reflection Movement. 

Wilman Villar Mendoza (2012) and Orlando Zapata Tamayo (2010)
 The Cuban dictatorship rejects transparent human rights monitoring by independent human rights organizations because it is engaged in the systematic violation of the human rights of Cubans on the island in order to maintain itself in power. Independent Cuban human rights organizations are labeled mercenary, their members common criminals and independent international human rights organizations are are also demonized and accused of bias by the regime's agents of influence on the far left.

The deaths of two Amnesty International prisoners of conscience: Orlando Zapata Tamayo in 2010 and Wilman Villar Mendoza 23 months later in 2012 provide context into how the Castro regime engages in campaigns of slander against political prisoners in order to minimize international outrage. This is what the Cuban state security service is now doing with Vladimir Morera Bacallao.

The debate over the body count of politically motivated killings by the dictatorship in Cuba varies widely with counts of 12,000 killed, 73,000 killed or even 100,000 extrajudicial killings since 1959. A full accounting needs to be carried by a truth commission in a post-Castro regime to arrive at the truth, but sadly the number continues to rise and under the Obama administration high profile opposition leaders have been added to the count.

Vladimir Morera Bacallao was one of the names on a list of 53 political prisoners that the Obama administration made public in January of 2015 following the December 17, 2014 announcement of a new US-Cuba policy. According to The New York Times, a cheer leader for this new policy, it "was seen as an important indicator of the Cuban government’s commitment to carrying out the agreement" with the United States. However, Morera Bacallao had been sent home on October 11, 2014,  months prior to the December 17th announcement following another lengthy hunger strike. Others among the 53 named by the Obama administration have also been re-arrested.

The Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski on Christmas Eve expressed "concern"for the plight of Vladimir Morera Bacallao over twitter. Rosa María Payá responded to him over twitter stating: "Justice and immediate release of all political prisoners should be conditions, not concerns."

Meanwhile in Cuba activists take to the streets in a campaign to raise awareness on the plight of
Vladimir Morera Bacallao led by Cuban Reflection Movement leader, Librado Linares Garcia.

The question activists are asking themselves of the international community was concretely expressed by Capitol Hill Cubans in the powerful blog entry: Who Cares About Vladimir Morera Bacallao?

What can you do to help save a life?

1. Use the hashtag #SaveBacallao on social media and let others know about his plight. 

2. Call the hospital where he is currently being held [ Tel: +53-42-271234 +53-42-271256 +53-42-20105/81] and express your concern on his health status.

3. Ask your elected representatives to contact the Cuban government and have them express their concern on the plight of Vladimir Morera Bacallao directly. At the same time have them speak before their legislative body on the record regarding his plight.

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