Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cuban media acknowledges jailed dissident's death

Posted on Saturday, 02.27.10
Cuban media acknowledges jailed dissident's death
The Associated Press

HAVANA -- State media reported the death of a jailed, dissident hunger
striker on Saturday, acknowledging four days after the fact a story that
most Cubans had already heard through word of mouth.

Writing in the Communist Party daily Granma, a longtime government
essayist accused opposition groups and "forces of the counterrevolution"
of making a martyr out of Orlando Zapata Tamayo when he was actually a
common criminal.

"Cuban mercenaries can be detained and tried according to applicable
laws - in no country can you violate the law," Enrique Ubieta Gomez wrote.

Zapata Tamayo died Tuesday after refusing solid food for weeks.
Imprisoned in 2003 for disrespecting authority, he was eventually
sentenced to 25 years for activism behind bars and was considered a
"prisoner of conscience" internationally.

Cuba tolerates no official opposition to its single-party communist
system and dismisses dissidents and political activists as paid agents
of Washington, out to topple the government.

Zapata Tamayo was originally held in his native eastern Cuba before
being transferred to Havana and later hospitalized just before his death.

The case sparked international outcry, and President Raul Castro took
the unprecedented step of expressing public regret - but denied that
Zapata Tamayo was mistreated.

In Saturday's article, Ubieta Gomez wrote that foreign governments and
international media are exploiting the death to criticize Cuba.

He voiced similar complaints on a government Web site on Thursday.
However the Granma story was the first word of Zapata Tamayo's death in
the mainstream Cuban press, which is entirely state-run.

Most Cubans had already heard the news through word on the street, U.S.
television broadcasts received via illegal satellite hookups or contact
with family and friends overseas.

Cuban media acknowledges jailed dissident's death - Americas AP - (27 February 2010)

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