Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cuban democrat Wilman Villar Mendoza on hunger strike near death

Opposition activists report on Wilman Villar Mendoza's health status and call for his freedom

On Sunday, January 15, 2012 (on Martin Luther King Jr's birthday) a large group of the Ladies in White were brutally beaten up and detained as they marched from the Cobre to the hospital Juan Bruno Zayas calling for the release of Wilman Villar Mendoza and that his life be saved.* Wilman has been on a hunger strike for over 50 days protesting his unjust imprisonment. Comparisons are being drawn between his plight and that of the late prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo.

The Cuban democratic opposition is concerned over the plight of this Cuban dissident who's life hangs in the balance. Little known outside of opposition circles in Cuba Wilman Villar Mendoza was arrested on November14, 2011 during a violent crackdown by the political police on Cuban democrats engaged in a public protest in the town of Contramaestre in Santiago, Cuba. Ten days later in a closed-door, one day sham trial on November 24 Wilman was sentenced to four years in prison for disobedience, resisting arrest and contempt and was sent to Aguadores prison.

Outraged at the injustice committed against him Villar launched a hunger strike the next day and refused to wear the uniform of a common prisoner.

Regime agents blackmailed his wife Maritza Pelegrino threatening to take away her two young daughters for refusing to break with the Ladies in White. The Ladies in White are a civic group of women that advocate, lobby and protest for the release of Cuban political prisoners.

According to his wife, Wilman Villar Mendoza was transferred to the Zayas Hospital in Santiago only when his health took a turn for the worse on January 14.

Reports have appeared in The Miami Herald, Diario de Cuba, Reporteros 24 and blogs such as Uncommon Sense, Capitol Hill Cubans, Pedazos de la Isla, and Babalu Blog describing Wilman presently in a coma and suffering pneumonia.

*According to Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia the following women were attacked by Cuban State Security on January 15, 2012 asking that Wilman Villar Mendoza be freed and not left to die:

Tania Montoya Vázquez, Yanelis Elégica Despaine, Yamiseli Aleaga Kayamo, Karina Quintana Hernández, Madelaine Santo Grillo, Mayelin La O Montero, Darmis Aguedo Zaldivar, Yarisel Figueredo Valdés, Yanella Montero, Vázquez, Aleanna Isaac, Arelys Rodígues Chacón, Aurora Martín Calderín, Miraida Martín Calderín, Yudislaidis Travieso Garlobo, Yusmari Chacón Lamot, Elisa Milagros Reinier Acosta y María Alfonso Córdoba.

In addition to the Ladies in White the following opposition activists were also detained and beaten for calling on Wilman Villar Mendoza be freed and not left to die:

Raumel Vinajera Stevens, Rulisam Ramírez Rodríguez, Bismarck Peña Pérez, Yuselin Ferrer Espinosa, Antonio González Bordonado, Ovidio Martín Castellano, Carlos Martín Calderín, Manuel Santiago Zaldivar González, Andri Verdecia Osorio, Abraham Cabrera Torres, Aurora Martin Calderín, Arelys Rodríguez Chacón, Luis Enrique Losada, Enrique Losada Aguedo, Miraida Martín Calderín.

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