His name was Orlando Zapata Tamayo and he died last week from complications suffered from 18 days without being given water by the castro regime while in one of the regime's gulags. He'd been on a hunger strike for about 80 days, protesting inhumane treatment including beatings, torture, harassment and other debasements. He was serving time in prison for "disrespect." That's what the castro regime calls those Cubans in Cuba that have the audacity to want to be treated as human beings. As individuals. As people with rights to their own thoughts and opinions.
The castro regime would not let his mother visit him during his final days. And, when his body was finally released and was taken to his small hometown of Banes on the east coast of Cuba, the castro regime sent military personnel, state security agents, rapid response brigades and other rabble rousers to prevent people from attending his wake and funeral. Dissidents and other Cuban human rights activists were rounded up and detained and all those who had the wherewithal to offer their personal condolences to his bereaved mother and family were subjected to further harassment and intimidation by state forces and personnel. The Cuban state run media went out of its way to slander, libel and publish prevarications about him and his family.
Orlando Zapata Tamayo. A construction worker by trade. A simple, quiet man of few words. A man of color who dared to speak truth to power. A man who suffered not only physical assaults, but who was denigrated and humiliated, called a "worthless nigger" by his jailers as they took batons and clubs to his body. A man who endured these heinous acts with courage and dignity. A man who gave his all not only for his beliefs and convictions. But for 12 million of his fellow countrymen for whom "freedom" is only a dream.
Orlando Zapata Tamayo is my hero.