Orlando Zapata Tamayo: A 4 meses de su asesinato


cubanexilequarter | June 23, 2010 | 9:59
Orlando Zapata Tamayo Date of arrest: 20 March 2003 Sentence: No trial yet, but charged with "desacato", "desordenes publicos", "public disorder", and "desobediencia". Orlando Zapata Tamayo is a member of the Movimiento Alternativa Republicana, Alternative Republican Movement, and a member of the Consejo Nacional de Resistencia Cívica, National Civic Resistance Committee. He has been arrested several times in the past. For example he was temporarily detained on 3 July 2002 and 28 October 2002. In November 2002 after taking part in a workshop on human rights in the central Havana park, José Martí, he and eight other government opponents were reportedly arrested and later released. He was also arrested on 6 December 2002 along with Oscar Elías Biscet3, but was released on 8 March 2003. Most recently, he was arrested on the morning of 20 March 2003 whilst taking part in a hunger strike at the Fundación Jesús Yánez Pelletier, Jesús Yánez Pelletier Foundation, in Havana, to demand the release of Oscar Biscet and other political prisoners. He was reportedly taken to the Villa Marista State Security Headquarters. He has not been tried yet, but the prosecutor is reportedly asking for three years' imprisonment for "desacato", "desordenes publicos", "public disorder", and "desobediencia". He has reportedly been moved around several prisons, including Quivicán Prison, Guanajay Prison, and most recently, Combinado del Este Prison in Havana. According to reports, on 20 October 2003 he was dragged along the floor of Combinado del Este Prison by prison officials after requesting medical attention, leaving his back full of lacerations.

He began his final hunger strike on December 3, 2009 refusing to wear the uniform of a common prisoner and because his books and food were confiscated when he was transferred as punishment to Kilo 8 prison in Camaguey. Never for one moment were demands responded to by either his jailers or the political police. During the water only hunger strike in an effort to break his spirit officials denied him water for more than two weeks. He was also taken to Amalia Simoni and left exposed in a room with the air conditioning set very cold which produced a pneumonia which worsened his already critical condition. Orlando Zapata Tamayo died 82 days later on February 23, 2010.

During this process they attempted to keep family and relatives away from Orlando Zapata Tamayo and officials also secretly video taped his relatives when they met with doctors to later broadcast edited footage on official television and prepare a narrative to justify the death of Orlando. Finally to add insult to injury officials of the Cuban dictatorship have slandered Orlando Zapata Tamayo's name in death while having to cover up their own past recognition of him as a dissident in the dictatorship's own published book: "Los disidentes" by Luis Báez and Rosa Miriam Elizalde made public on June 24, 2003 where Orlando Zapata Tamayo appears in a number of photos with prominent members of the opposition. On March 4, 2010 speaking from his prison cell Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet sought to set the record straight on Orlando Zapata Tamayo. "Zapata Tamayo was a man of the nonviolent civic struggle in its theoretical & practical aspects and expressed his heroic courage and intelligence - the most difficult in non-violent resistance in his direct action - the hunger strike until the death to achieve his objectives of basic freedoms. ... Zapata Tamayo had to suffer a double portion of this cruel discrimination for his humanitarian ideas and for being a person of color. ..."The government of Raul Castro exacerbated all its hatred, racial discrimination & torture until his death. This death is nothing less than an extrajudicial killing"

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