Thursday, June 16, 2011

SOS for the life of Cuban political prisoner Jorge Cervantes

June 15, 2011

SOS for the life of Cuban political prisoner Jorge Cervantes
Cervantes Jorge Cervantes

After 17 days on hunger strike for his freedom, Cuban political prisoner
Jorge Cervantes Garcia is a very sick man.

But it wasn't until his mother and other activists, in Cuba and in
exile, brought pressure to bear on his jailers, did that Castro regime
relent somewhat and provide him with needed medical care. On June 11,
his guards removed Cervantes from a punishment cell in El Típico prison
in Las Tunas, where he was placed after he started his protest May 29,
and transferred to a hospital.

Cervantes has been jailed since late March when he was unjustly arrested
and ordered to serve the remaining 4 years of a previous sentence
because of his continued anti-Castro activities. He had been paroled
last summer, and refused to join his brother Agustin and other family
members in exile when Agustin was released from prison in early March.

In addition to suffering the effects of not eating, Cervantes was
coughing up blood when he was transferred because of the tuberculosis he
has suffered during his some 14 years in Cuban prisons.

The pattern being repeated here -- anyone remember Orlando Zapata
Tamayo? -- is very disturbing. Political prisoner goes on hunger strike.
His guards turn up the cruelty. Family members and others try to sound
the alarm to pressure the dictatorship on his behalf.

In Zapata's case, he died. It took too long for enough people in the
world to know his story to save his life.

In Cervantes' case, the pressure and attention so far -- led by his
mother, who is standing vigil outside the hospital, and members of the
Christian Liberation Movement -- have been enough to win him needed
medical care.

His condition is serious, or grave, according to the latest reports. He
still may die and if he does, his blood will join Zapata's, Pedro Luis
Boitel's and many others who have perished in the Castro gulag on the
hands of the Cuban dictatorship.

Hopefully now, additional pressure and attention will be enough to win
his freedom.

And to save his life.

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