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realclearworld

Struggle for freedom still vibrant among Cubans

Guillermo Martinez in the Sun Sentinel:

Struggle for freedom still vibrant among Cubans

Guillermo Martinez, El SentinelBack in 1978 and 1979, I covered the release of 3,600 Cuban political prisoners. Many had been in jail for close to 20 years, yet their spirit was never broken. In exile they continued to fight against the Cuban Communist regime. They protested the constant violation of human rights in the island. And they stood tall and straight in opposition to Fidel Castro.

At the time I thought that Fidel Castro was releasing the prisoners because he had broken the spirit of all those who opposed his government in the island.

Boy, was I wrong!

Castro cannot survive without political prisoners. Such is the essence of totalitarian regimes. He has never been able to curb the indomitable spirit of Cubans, who still dare oppose the regime in and outside the island.

Jorge Luis García Pérez, better know as Antúnez, is one of many who still oppose the regime, even though he served 17 years and 338 days in Castro´s jails. Antúnez and hundreds of other dissidents are the heirs of the political prisoners of the early decades of Cuba's Communist regime.

Antúnez was jailed March 15, 1990. Raúl Castro was giving a speech when Antúnez shouted out his opposition to the regime in the main plaza of the city of Placetas.

He was sentenced to six years in jail, but would serve many more because he refused to bow to prison authorities that insisted he was a common prisoner, not a political prisoner.

"I was accused of spreading enemy propaganda," Antúnez said this week in a telephone interview.

The 43-year-old black man, who helped found the National Movement for Civic Resistance Pedro Luis Boitell and his wife Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera, an activist in the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, are an important part of a rapidly growing dissident movement inside Cuba.

In recent months, Antúnez and his wife were allowed to travel outside Cuba. Raúl Castro wanted to demonstrate to the world that Cuba was moderating its stance towards dissidents inside the island.

Continue reading HERE.

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