Former political prisoner and Cuban exile icon Roberto Martin Perez dies in Miami

The Cuban exile community has lost another giant. Roberto Martin Perez, who suffered 28 years in a Castro gulag for fighting against the tyranny of socialism, has passed away.

His wife, journalist and Miami radio personality Ninoska Perez Castellon posted the following on Facebook (my translation):

It is with a heavy heart that I write these words. Roberto Martin Perez has died and his life can be summed up very easily: Determination, dedication, and love for Cuba. He was one of the first to oppose the regime of Fidel Castro, spending 28 years in Castro prisons as an uncooperative prisoner. He saw his friends die from hunger strikes, fall to the ground riddled with bullets at the execution wall, he felt hunger, cold, rage, and pain together with his brothers. He survived tortures, inhumane punishments, lack of medical care, yet they were never able to break him. He never considered himself a victim. After an intense international campaign to gain his freedom, in a favor to Fidel Castro, General Manuel Noriega sent a delegation to Cuba to pick him up. He told him he would not accept his release because there were another 200 prisoners who were in worse condition. The plane returned to Panama without him. It wasn’t until a few days later when other prisoners told him he should leave and advocate for them from the outside that he left prison with a commitment to continue the struggle until they were free. And that’s what he did.

He died in peace and I know he is with God now, who never abandoned him during the most difficult moments of his life and in who he believed in above all other things.

Requiescat in pace, Roberto. Your legacy and your valor will continue to live on in our heart and soul of all freedom loving Cubans.