The Global Cuba Solidarity Movement condemns and regrets the death of Cuban activist Orlando Zapata Tamayo, after an 85-day hunger strike in defense of his rights as a political prisoner, and offers its condolences to his mother, Lady in White Reina Luisa Tamayo, and his remaining family members and friends.
Zapata, detained and unjustly convicted during the events of Cuba’s Black Spring, in March of 2003, on repeated occasions was subjected to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment by the prison authorities. The political prisoner refused the use of the uniform of common prisoners and for this suffered torture and beatings, as his mother denounced in a recent video.
Zapata was part of the “Group of 75”, and had been recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. Initially sentenced to three years in jail, his acts of “disrespect” and his protests in favor of human rights and his own rights led to consecutive sentences of dozens of years in prison. His death is evidence of the grave situation of civil rights in Cuba, in addition to the critical conditions in which Cuban political prisoners survive.