Friday, January 27, 2012

Another prisoner's death

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, CafĂ© 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.”

1 comment:

brianmack said...

The death of Wilman Villar is beyond words. Here was a man who protested for change and was placed in solitary confinement. He died a martyr. I mentioned Mr. Silvio
Rodriguez before in the silence this
so called "Bob Dylan" of Cuba has
continued to take. Also, the fact that Ms. Yoani Sanchez cannot obtain
a visa on her own is primitive at best. This cannot continue without
severe consequences to those who hold power.