UPDATED, May 9, 2007
Roberto Guerra was released from prison May 7, 2007.
Imprisoned Cuban independent journalist Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez on March 21 began a hunger strike to protest abusive treatment in prison and the violation of his due process rights, according to Cuba-Miami Information Bridge. Guerra, 27, was arrested and jailed last July, but he has never been formally charged with a crime.
This is at least the fourth hunger strike Guerra has started since he was arrested July 13, 2005, during a fast he was undertaking to protest government harrassment. In addition to working as a journalist, Guerra is a member of a movement called the Corriente Martiana (José Martí Current), which defines itself as “patriotic, humanitarian and cultural,” according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
RSF has more:
His wife and Moisés Leonardo Rodríguez, both fellow members of the “Corriente Martiana,” were arrested at the same time but were released 72 hours later.
When Rodríguez asked a state security officer why Guerra was still being held, the officer said Guerra had a “record” and mentioned “three false reports” without going into detail.
Guerra’s articles are mainly about social issues affecting the Cuban population such as poverty and the lack of medical care. Guerra had been harassed by the authorities before his arrest. At the beginning of 2005, he had to leave his sister’s home where he had been living after state security officials threatened to evict her if she continued to let him stay there.
For more about Guerra, in Spanish, read Payolibre's profile.
For more on Uncommon Sense's March 18 Project, including profiles of other independent journalists, in and out of prison, read here.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
Reporters Without Borders has an ongoing petition drive asking Castro to release independent journalists in prison. You can sign the petition here. (A technical note: Reporters Without Borders is based in Paris, so the confirmation e-mail you will receive after signing the petition will be in French. Just in case you don't read French, the confirmation e-mail asks you click on the link to complete the petition signature process. Castro won't receive your message until you click on the link.)
For more on the Cuban dissidents, including a chance to "adopt a dissident," see the Cuban American National Foundation's Web site.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is find and read the work of independent journalists still on the island. A place to find their articles, in Spanish, English and French, is CubaNet.