Anglican Samizdat

February 24, 2010

Cuban hypocrisy

Filed under: Politics — David Jenkins @ 8:16 pm
Tags: ,

Raul Castro wants us to think he is sorry a political prisoner has died:

Cuba’s leader Raul Castro “laments” the death of a detained activist who had been on hunger strike for nearly three months, its foreign ministry says.

It marks a rare expression of sorrow by the country’s leadership, often rebuked over its human rights record.

Orlando Zapata Tamayo died in hospital in Havana on Tuesday, 85 days after he began refusing food, sparking criticism of Havana from the US and EU countries.

The 42-year-old was arrested in 2003 in an crackdown on opposition activists.

But the Cuban president said neither Mr Tamayo nor anyone else on the island had been tortured.

Mr Zapata, who was declared a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International, had been refusing food in protest at jail conditions and died in the capital’s Hermanos Ameijeiras hospital.

Anyone remotely interested what happens to you in Cuba when you express opinions contrary to the government owes it to himself to read Against all Hope by Armando Valladares. Valladares was a guest of the Communist paradise’s prison system because had the temerity to express doubts in Cuba’s expression of Communist perfection. Here is an excerpt from the end of the book when he was released:

As the cars sped along, a flood of memories rushed over me. Twenty-two years in jail. I recalled the two sergeants, Porfirio and Matanzas, plunging their bayonets into Ernesto Diaz Madruga’s body; Roberto Lopez Chavez dying in a cell, calling for water, the guards urinating over his face and in his gasping mouth; Boitel, denied water too, after more than fifty days on a hunger strike, because Castro wanted him dead; Clara, Boitel’s poor mother, beaten by Lieutenant Abad in a Political Police station just because she wanted to find out where her son was buried. I remember Carrion, shot in the leg, telling Jaguey not to shoot, and Jaguey mercilessly, heartlessly shooting him in the back; the officers who threatened family members if they cried at a funeral.

I remembered Estebita and Piri dying in blackout cells, the victims of biological experimentation; Diosdado Aquit, Chino Tan, Eddy Molina and so many others murdered in the forced-labour fields, quarries and camps. A legion of spectres, naked, crippled, hobbling and crawling through my mind, and the hundreds of men wounded and mutilated in the horrifying searches. Dynamite. Drawer cells. Eduardo Capote’s fingers chopped off by a machete. Concentration camps, tortures, women beaten, soldiers pushing prisoners’ heads into a lake of shit, the beatings of Eloy and Izaguirre. Martin Perez with his testicles destroyed by bullets. Robertico weeping for his mother.

And in the midst of that apocalyptic vision of the most dreadful and horrifying moments in my life, in the midst of the gray, ashy dust and the orgy of beatings and blood, prisoners beaten to the ground, a man emerged, the skeletal figure of a man wasted by hunger, with white hair, blazing blue eyes, and a heart overflowing with love, raising his arms to the invisible heaven and pleading for mercy for his executioners.

“Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” And a burst of machine-gun fire ripping open his breast.

Think about that before you take your next vacation in Cuba.



  1. Well said. This is a tragedy and you are right to mention vacations.

    Comment by Stuart — February 25, 2010 @ 3:43 am

  2. I don’t really know much about this, but don’t the Hollywood “liberal” brigade think Cuba’s just wonderful? Isn’t there a movie out glorifying Che Guevara (who was allegedly very murderous)? I’ve certainly heard that media people here in Britain admire Cuba. If you want to discover real hypocrisy, always go to Western “liberal” media people; they won’t disappoint.

    Comment by John Thomas — February 26, 2010 @ 4:52 am

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