History repeats itself with another awful, hard-to-comprehend death of a Cuban prisoner. As in the case of Orlando Zapata, Wilman Villar died in a hospital after being in a prison in eastern Cuba; he is described as a dissident by his family but the government claims he was a common criminal.
The following is what I scanned after being away from the news.
Villar, who apparently joined a dissident group last fall, is reported to have been on a hunger strike and died from that. International human rights groups and many governments condemned Cuban authorities for allowing the 31-year-old to die; see this editorial from El Pais and the State Department’s statement.
The Cuban government issued a refutation (text here), claiming there is ample proof that he was neither a dissident nor on a hunger strike, that he received medical care, and his family was always apprised of it.
AFP reports that Villar’s mother, sister, and mother-in-law all “repudiated” him, while human rights monitor Elizardo Sanchez reports from Havana that those three are all married to Interior Ministry agents and are “partisans of the government.”
And regarding Zapata, Café Fuerte reports that his mother, who emigrated to the United States once she had her son’s ashes in her hands, is having a hard time in Miami finding work and economic support. She describes herself as “desperate.”