Archive for 4/11/2004
The New York Sun:
The 41-year-old man sits in a filthy 18-by-24-foot cell that he shares with 10 other prisoners. He knows he is fortunate because up to 18 men are routinely squeezed in cells of that size…. The water is rationed and the little that is available is contaminated. His food rations are meager and substandard. He suffers from chronic gastrointestinal conditions, which have worsened since his imprisonment. He now suffers from parasites, high cholesterol, hypertension, and has lost 20 pounds.
Jorge Olivera Castillo is one of the 300 political prisoners inside Cuba’s jails, yet the world seems blind to their plight.
There is no international outcry about his living conditions.
No visits from the International Red Cross since 1989.
No congressional delegations or pop-ins from Greek Orthodox patriarchs or Robert Redford, Sean Penn,
Danny Glover, Oliver Stone, or Harry Belafonte.
Nor–even though he is black–any support from the NAACP, whose leader Kweise Mfume visited Cuba in 2002 on a “goodwill mission.”
There is no outcry from the National Writer’s Union, whose pet prisoner is Mumia Abul Jamal.
Mr. Olivera was arrested on March 18, 2003, during Cuba’s greatest crackdown on independent journalists and dissidents, when 75 persons were arrested. This occurred the day after the 59th Session of the United Nations Commission for Human Rights convened in Geneva….
Cuba denies that it holds any prisoners of conscience and says that all inmates described as political prisoners are merely common criminals.
(From Dollar$ and Crosses)