Cuba: Reina Luisa Tamayo arrested, threatened with Law 88

Since the February murder of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, his grieving  mother, Reina Luisa Tamayo, has wanted nothing more than to go to Mass on Sunday, and then to visit the grave of her son.  For this, she has been terrorized by the Castro regime.  She has been held prisoner in her home, surrounded by violent mobs, she’s been beaten, harassed, arrested, and threatened, as have her family, friends and followers.

Why are the Castro brothers so afraid of this elderly woman?  Can their hold on power be so fragile that it is threatened by the honest actions of a mother demanding her right to grieve, to keep the memory of her son alive?  Apparently so.

Today, Reina Luisa Tamayo has again been arrested and threatened with Law 88,  for the Protection of the National Independence and Economy of Cuba, which among other offenses, allows for prosecution of any Cuban sending information abroad complaining about problems in Cuba.   Since there is no rule of law in Cuba which protects the rights of individuals, in Reina Luisa’s position where else can she seek help but from those outside the country?  The law carries prison sentences of from five to twenty years.

International solidarity with Reina Luisa Tamayo


That is one of the posters held high in the heart of Hollywood this afternoon, as we stood in solidarity with Reina Luisa Tamayo, the mother of murdered Cuban political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo. (More photos here)

Ours was one among a series of international events.  There were marches/demonstations in Miami, New Jersey, Raleigh, Madrid, Paris, Milan, Santiago de Chile, and Buenos Aires.  Marc spoke at the Tampa event, and his words  perfectly capture why so many of us are inspired by this remarkable women.  


Cuban women with their love and their courage, have always been the strength of our families, and of our nation. They have been our rock, our guiding light. No man who is the father, son, husband or brother of a Cuban woman should ever doubt this.

And after the events of the past 6 ½ months, since the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo on Feb. 23, not even scoundrels like Fidel and Raúl Castro and the prison guards and secret policemen and common thugs who do their bidding, should have any question about this, as well.

For that, we can thank Reina Luisa Tamayo.

Despite the murder of her son by the Castro regime, despite her mourning, despite the dictatorship subsequently targeting her as some sort of public enemy, this woman has emerged as a new leader of the struggle for freedom for our Cuba.

With a grace and courage and dignity that Cuban men might recognize in their mothers and grandmothers, sisters and wives, Reina Luisa Tamayo has assumed her son’s mantle, and built on his legacy, to become a leader we need for the ongoing struggle.

This morning, she will brave possible threats from Cuban police and others and again march from her home to her church. Those of us gathered here and around the world this morning should feel honored to join her in her journey.