For the first time in a half-century of totalitarian oppression, the Castro regime in Cuba has given in to pressure from its victims. For the first time a release of political prisoners was achieved by actors from within, the internal resistance, even though the church hierarchy wants to minimize the strength of an opposition which, across the length and breadth of the country, has said and has demonstrated that “Yes we can.”
It is no secret to anyone with average information and power of analysis that the martyrdom of Orlando Zapata was the trigger that caused internal popular anger and the unprecedented international pressure for the Castro dynasty, as well as the important and high-profile protests by Guillermo Fariñas with his heroic hunger strike, and the Ladies in White, which even forced a break in the way official censorship is out. The writings condemning Zapata, Fariñas, and the Ladies in White, although they outraged us, contributed significantly to domestic public opinion being informed by the knowledge that there are political prisoners in Cuba and especially that the resistance is alive.
Despite all this, we believe that this process of releases from prison – read forced exile – is a ploy to get rid of pressure on the regime. Domestic opposition has just won an important battle that encourages us to not cease until the last of our compatriots is released. Yet there is something that many do not understand, which seems absurd or fanciful: while many prisoners leave prison, while ombudsmen of the church, the Spanish Foreign Ministry, and the dictatorship talk about political prisoners and the human rights situation in Cuba, back in Banes, Holguín, Reina Luisa Tamayo Danger is the victim of constant persecution, repression and harassment, including death threats from the repressive Castro regime, to keep her away from family and other activists who visit the grave of her fallen son. And there in the easternmost part of Cuba, members of the Eastern Democratic Alliance are brutally repressed, cruelly and systematically arrested in brutal retaliation for their courageous pro-democracy optimism.