UPDATED, Feb. 19, 2011 — Iván Hernández was released from prison on Feb. 19, 2011.
By the time he was arrested during the "black spring" of March 2003 and sentenced to 25 years in prison for his opposition to the Cuban government, independent journalist Iván Hernández Carrillo, 35, was a familiar figure to the dictatorship.
He was expelled from a computer technology school in the early 1990s because of his oppostion activities, and in 1992 he was sentenced to two years in prison "enemy propaganda and desecrating an image of Fidel Castro," according to Payolibre.
In prison, the Cuban "re-education" system once again failed Hernández, and in 1994, after leaving the gulag, he joined up again with democratic opposition groups, including the Democratic Solidarity Party and the Democracy Party Pedro Luis Boitel. He also was active in the independent labor movement.
In 2002, Hernández began work as a journalist, and also became the director of an independent library — making him a double threat to the Castro regime.
The next year, the regime slammed back, arresting Hernández and more than 70 other journalists, human rights activists, librarians and other dissidents.
The dictatorship saved one of its harshest punishments for Hernández to 25 years in prison.
However, in prison, Hernández has not given up his fight against the Castro regime, joining in hunger strikes and other protests.
For more on Hernández, read Cuba Political Prisoners.info.
For more on Uncommon Sense's March 18 Project, including profiles of other independent journalists, in and out of prison, read here.
To see pictures of most of the imprisoned journalists, go here.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
Reporters Without Borders has an ongoing petition drive asking Fidel 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, see the Cuban American National Foundation's Web site.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is find and read the work of Cuba’s independent journalists. A place to find their articles, in Spanish, English and French, is CubaNet. You can also find their stories at Cuba Verdad.
And yes, this is the same Cuba that on May 9, 2006, was elected to a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council.