There is nothing the Castro dictatorship fears more than a man or woman with dignity and principles. As a vile and corrupt regime that thrives on misery and darkness, the light of dignity is unbearable to them for it exposes their immorality and ruthlessness for all to see. The Castro dictatorship prefers to deal with their own; others who like them eschew integrity and justice and who dwell in the shadows where unspeakable atrocities are hidden from sight. Their worst enemy is a person who honors just principles, a person with integrity, and when confronted by such a noble person, the only response the dictatorship can offer is a violent attack against them.
More than a week ago, the Castro regime used the Catholic Church to announce that prisoner of conscience Angel Moya would be released from prison and allowed to stay in Cuba. As one of the group of 75 opposition members arrested in the Black Spring of 2003, Moya had been included in the list of 52 prisoners of conscience slated to be released last year by the regime in a deal brokered by the Spanish government and the Catholic Church. Those releases turned out instead to be banishment for these political prisoners, as only those who agreed to forced exile in Spain were released. Months later, the regime finally agreed to begin releasing those who refused to be banished, and Angel Moya’s turn came on February 5, 2011.
As a man who honors his principles and his integrity, Moya refused to accept his release until other political prisoners with health issues were released first. He also rejected the Castro regime’s premise of parole as the legal definition for his liberation from prison. He considered his incarceration to be unjust and demanded a full pardon. The Castro regime refused to accept his demands, and a week later, on February 12, Castro thugs violently removed him from prison. He tried to resist, taking off his clothes inside his cell and chanting anti-Castro slogans, but that only brought him a beating and more humiliation.
In the end, Moya was forced back to his home and the dictatorship got what it wanted; another released prisoner of conscience to use as a bargaining chip with the world in order to obtain more revenue to fund its repressive machinery. But not before Moya showed the regime and its thugs what a true man of integrity and dignity is like, and although they may have won the physical battle against them, the regime knows they have lost the spiritual and intellectual battle. They are quite aware that physical repression cannot last forever, and as more men and women like this continue to stand up in Cuba, their end will come sooner rather than later.
Angel Moya represents the freedom loving Cubans the Castro regime can neither accept nor tolerate. He is the type of person who like many other members of the opposition the regime fears the most. These freedom activists cannot be bought or sold, and neither can they be beaten into submission.
Last night I had the immense honor and privilege of talking to Angel Moya over the phone. I took the opportunity to ask him a few questions regarding his forced release from prison and his current condition.
AdlC: Mr. Moya, it is a pleasure to speak to you, this is Alberto de la Cruz.
AM: The pleasure is mine. I want to send my greetings to all of you and an embrace from here, the suffering island of Cuba; an embrace for all of you.
AdlC: Well I wanted to thank you for your bravery and your courage in the cause for liberty in Cuba.
AM: The problem is the following; the history of Cuba is rich with men and women who have given everything, have sacrificed everything to see a free Cuba. And the least we can do is follow the example of all those people. From Carlos Manuel de Cespedes to Antonio Maceo and Jose Marti; all of the political prisoners from 1959 until today; the four pilots from Brothers to the Rescue who were assassinated by the Cuban government; Pedro Luis Boitel; Orlando Zapata Tamayo; all of those that have been assassinated for political reasons in Cuba. They have given us a legacy and we can’t do less in this struggle.
I also wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to send in my name and the name of my family recognition and appreciation to the Cuban exile community from the opposition here in Cuba for looking out for us, for worrying about us, and for solidarity with us all during these last 7 years of unjust and arbitrary imprisonment.
AdlC: It is the least that we can do, to help in any way we can. You are all on the war front, in the trenches, fighting every day. And we give you thanks and we honor you, and we are very proud of all of you and all you have done.
AM: We too are eternally grateful to all of you because the Cuban exile community has once more demonstrated to the Cuban government, to the Cuban people, and to the entire world that exiled Cubans do not abandon their political prisoners.
AdlC: First of all, how is your physical and psychological condition?
AM: From a spiritual perspective and morale, I am doing well. From a physical perspective I am also fine. My health is good to thanks to my family, God, and to all of you I find myself well.
AdlC: The announcement of your release by the Catholic Church took place last week. Did you hear about this announcement then?
AM: Yes, that morning they contacted my wife and told her that I was going to be released. And there is another political prisoner in the Combinado del Este prison named Lazaro Garcia Farah – a good brother, a fighter, don’t forget that name, Lazaro Garcia Farah – he contacted an independent journalist in Cuba and told him that the news going around was that Guido Sigler and Angel Moya would be released. That news got to me and I immediately called my wife who confirmed it. I immediately told her that I would not accept that type of release until the political prisoners with health problems were released first as an act of solidarity with them on my part. To me it was a moral issue, an ethical issue to support those suffering in prison, suffering doubly; first because they are imprisoned, and second because they are sick. It was not capriciousness on my part or to impose myself, it was about solidarity. When they called my wife that morning to let her know I would be released, she firmly gave them the same response.
AdlC: Did an official of the Castro government give you the announcement of your release or was it the Catholic Church?
AM: Officially, I received the news of my release this past Saturday. The chief of Prisons 21* from the Department of State Security, named Samper, and an official from the Department of Jails and Prisons told me that I would be released on parole. I told them that I did not accept that, first because I did not accept a conditional release, and secondly because there were prisoners who were sick and those were the ones that needed to be released. Immediately the official Samper told me that they were going to carry out the order to release me regardless. In protest to this position taken by State Security, I took off all my clothes. Immediately thereafter, the official Samper ordered the thugs that had accompanied him to apprehend me and forcibly take me to one of the automobiles they use for the transport of political prisoners.
There, inside the car, they applied painful techniques of immobilization on me and put clothes on me by force. From there they transferred me to a military unit at the exit of Guanabana, in the direction of Matanzas, and I was there from 10 am to approximately 4 to 6 pm until they took me to a military installation near Alamar. On that ride I began to scream slogans against the system – “Cuba yes! Castro no!”; “Down with the dictatorship!”; “Zapata Lives! Long live Zapata!” – immediately the men in the car who were escorting me began to viciously beat me in an attempt to stop me from voicing slogans against the system, against the government.
When we reached Alamar, the place where I was to be dropped off, I was physically dragged out of the car. They then immediately deployed the rapid response brigades, who in my opinion are brigades of terrorists at the service of the Cuban government, financed and organized by the Cuban government, to harass members of the Cuban opposition who exercise their rights and struggle for the Cuban people. I continued to shout my slogans against the government and in response they began to shout pro-Cuban government slogans and offensive slogans directed against me and my family. The officials from State Security then violently dragged me to the apartment where I lived.
About an hour later, they did another demonstration against my wife, Laura Pollan, and Hector Maseda. And State Security, who was controlling and directing these paramilitary brigades, egged them on. When the act of repudiation against these valiant women turned violent, I came down from my apartment and in the middle of what we call the Castroite mob, we hugged each other and began to shout “Zapata Vive!” and “Down with the dictatorship!”
Let me state that Hector Maseda also assumed the dignified stance of not accepting his release unless the sick political prisoners were released first. But the department of State Security also informed Maseda that they were going to release him from prison and take him to his house whether he agreed or not.
Angel Moya has stayed true to the struggle for freedom in Cuba, pledging his allegiance to a free Cuba, not the Castro brothers. He has been harassed, beaten, and imprisoned for more than seven years, but he still holds firm to the principles of freedom and liberty. There are many men and women like Angel Moya who will never stop struggling to achieve the dream of a free and democratic Cuba, and it is they who are keeping the Castro regime up at night.
*Prisons 21 is a department in Cuban State Security that handles all the political prisoners on the island.