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  • A Cuban’s Dissident’s Death and Obama’s Libertad Speech

    Cuban citizen Wilman Villar Mendoza, age 31, belonged to small dissident group, the Cuban Patriotic Union. He reportedly joined it in the summer of 2011 in eastern Cuba.

    On November 12, Villar participated in one of the numerous protest actions that spring up here and there around the island. Villar was arrested by Cuban authorities on charges of “disrespecting authority” and “resisting arrest.” Within days he was tried and sentenced to four years in prison. The regime treated him as a common criminal, its customary way of dismissing dissent.

    Villar began a hunger strike to denounce inhumane treatment in which he was, according to the Coalition of Cuban Women, isolated in a humid punishment cell, confined naked, deprived of water and medical assistance, and transferred to a medical facility only when he was in a critical state of health.

    As his heath deteriorated and complications set in, he removed to a hospital in Santiago, where he died on January 19 at the end of a 56-day hunger strike.

    Elizardo Sanchez of the Cuban Commission of Human Rights clearly stated: “We hold the Cuban government categorically responsible because he died under their care. We consider this another avoidable death.”

    Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez tweeted the news of Villar’s death and asked, “How many more have to die? How many more?”

    A pro-Castro blogger callously responded: Villar’s death meant more scraps for “scavengers,” a swipe at those prejudiced and ignorant enough to question Castro justice.

    The year 2011 saw the deaths of valiant hunger striker Orlando Zapata Tamayo and the founder of the Ladies in White, Laura Pollan, as well as the continued and unjust imprisonment of U.S. citizen Alan Gross.

    With Villar’s death, 2012 begins with another defiant act of ultimate protest aimed at keeping the attention of the world focused not on economic tinkering going on in Cuba or with the saga of Fidel Castro’s battle with human mortality but where it should be: on the struggle for freedom and dignity for humble Cubans like Villar.

    Nearly four years ago in Miami, then-candidate Barack Obama stated: “My policy toward Cuba will be guided by one word: Libertad. And the road to freedom for all Cubans must begin with justice for Cuba’s political prisoners, the rights of free speech, a free press and freedom of assembly; and it must lead to elections that are free and fair.”

    At the time, before entering the White House, candidate Obama talked the talk. But since then, he hasn’t walked the walk.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to A Cuban’s Dissident’s Death and Obama’s Libertad Speech

    1. Kathleen says:

      While I feel badly for the citizens of Cuba I am more concerned about the freedoms that we Americans are losing at a very rapid rate under this president with the support of both parties in the senate & congress. Are we really concerned about the rest of the world's freedom and right to Habeas Corpus when our own rights were just blithely signed away by "our leadership"? Do you really believe this isn't going to happen in America, under the NDAA? Hello?

    2. It's time for Cuban culture to be cultivated again by Freedom!

    3. Prensa SICUW says:

      Statement by Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, Head of the North American Division of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs

      An unfortunate yet unusual event in Cuba has again been distorted and manipulated by narrow self-serving political interests to justify the policy of blockade against our country. The statements of the State Department and the White House are yet another evidence of the permanent policy of aggression and interference in the internal affairs of Cuba and stand out for their hypocrisy and double standards. Indeed, they are more becoming of the record of human rights violations of the United States in its own territory and in the world than they are of the performance of Cuba, where the human person is valued the most.

      There was no statement by the President or the State Department when on January 3, in Chicago, prisoner Lyvita Gomes died behind bars as a result of a hunger strike.

      It is not in Cuba where 90 prisoners have been executed since January 2010, while another 3,222 inmates remain on death row, awaiting execution. It must be remembered that the United States has already held its first execution of 2012 and its government ruthlessly represses those who dare to denounce the system’s injustice.

      It is the Government of the United States which engages in torture and extrajudicial executions in the countries it attacks, and which uses police brutality against its own people.

      In a colossal act of cynicism, the U.S. government dares now to accuse Cuba, while it turns a blind eye on and remains silent about the flagrant violations of human rights generated by the injustice, onslaught and destitution that its policy brings for millions of people around the world, including in the United States.

      Cuba will continue to be the country where, in spite the U.S.’s economic war against it, fewer children die at birth, where every day efforts are made to raise the already outstanding levels of social justice, levels that remain beyond reach for most people in the world, including in the United States, where there is a growing inequality.

      January 20, 2012

    4. Gary says:

      That is because in his heart of hearts, Obama wishes he had that power and approves of the Cuban government (Communism).

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