Reporters Without Borders and other sources commonly don't list José Daniel Ferrer García as one of the more than two dozen journalists imprisoned in Fidel Castro's gulag. His notoriety comes primarily from his work with the Christian Liberation Movement and the Varela Project, which earned him an arrest during the "black spring" of 2003, a sham trial and a prison sentence of 25 years.
(His brother, Luis, also active with the Varela Project, was sentenced to 28 years, the longest prison term handed down during the crackdown.)
But since at least 1999, José Ferrer, who turns 36 on July 29, has turned to the published word to inform the world about the reality of the Castro regime. And one human rights organization, Human Rights First has identified him as an "independent journalist."
Just last month, Ferrer penned from prison a manifesto, of sorts, imploring Cubans and others not to give up the fight for freedom.
“It does not matter where we are, what is important is that we join our efforts to put an end to the oppression our people are suffering. We must work hand in hand, without rest, for democratization and prosperity.
“As soon as possible we must build a Cuba for all and for the good off all, as Marti wanted, and for which so many brave people have lost their lives.
“We must continue confronting the tyranny at all levels through non-violent struggle, each time with more strength.
“We must unmask the facade, exposing its hypocrisy and perversity.
“We must inform and guide the thousands of Cubans that suffer in silence, as they wait disoriented for something to happen. We must multiply our efforts.
“Achieving a change in our country is up to Cubans both on the island and in exile, and is largely based on what we do with determination, courage, and love.
“Long live a free and democratic Cuba!”
To read more about José Ferrer, in Spanish, go here.
To read more about his brother, Luis Enrique Ferrer García, 29, in Spanish, go here.
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.