UPDATED, Feb. 13, 2011 — Angel Moyá was released from prison on Feb. 12, 2011.
Cubans will only live in freedom, with democracy and human rights, when in Cuba there are no longer any mob attacks against those persons who express themselves against the Regime’s policies, when no one is persecuted or imprisoned for their political opinions, and when the government you represent permits and respects the right to freedom of expression, association, assembly and protest.
— Angel Moya Acosta, letter to Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, March 19, 2005.
No matter how it has tried, and it has tried hard, the Cuban dictatorship has not been able to silence Angel Moya Acosta.
A construction worker by trade, Moya, now 42, saw as his higher calling a life committed to freedom and democracy for Cuba.
The founder of the Independent Alternative Option Movement, Moya in 1999 lead a fast to demonstrate support for a fast by the political prisoner Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet. In December of that year, on the 51st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Moya lead another demonstration.
This time, the dicatorship responded by throwing him in jail for eight months — which earned Moya recognition from Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience.
When Moya was released, he picked up where he left off, which became a familiar pattern for the next few years.
Angel Moya Acosta has a long honorable history of disagreement with the Cuban communist regime and has expressed his beliefs through peaceful means. His principles are aligned with those of Dr. Elias Biscet’s. Cuban citizens must claim their rights in a non-violent manner by public demonstrations.
In a letter written in prison, Moya Acosta provides us with a window into his firmly held beliefs and his idea of the future. “…there is no pact with the tyrant”.
In March 2003, during the "black spring," Moya was arrested one final time and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
But that did not silence Moya either, as Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque learned two years later after he spoke to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
In the letter, Moya debunked Perez's claim that there are no political prisoners or other repression in Cuba.
On May 13, 2003, the Chief of the Provincial Prison of Holguin forced me to undress in his office in front of my jailers. Once I had done this he gave them the order to take me to the punishment cells. The jailers placed me in a dark cell, infested with mosquitos, dirty, with no water. They took away the mattress, blanket and towel, and for three days I had to sleep on a board with no protection whatsoever. Again, I point out that while I was taken to the cell I was naked, barefoot, handcuffed and in plain view of both prisoners and guards.
Sir, how do you classify these actions by jailers which I have been a victim of? Are these practices by the jailers an expample of proper treatment?
No sir, they are not an example of good treatment. These measures are an example of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
In Cuba the press, radio and television do not belong to the people as you say. They are owned and controlled by the Communist Party. They are managed by members of the Communist Party and the Union of Young Communists. And to provide you with an example of this, I urge you to pick up a copy of the Granma newspaper where you can read under the main heading where it says: “Official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba.” Then, who does this newspaper answer to? Without a doubt, to the interests of the Communist Party of Cuba.
Read the whole letter here.
Payolibre has more, in Spanish, on this hero.
One of the surest indicators of the repressive nature of the Castro regime is the jailing of more than 300 political prisoners. To illustrate that reality, Uncommon Sense each week will profile one prisoner, and keep that post at the top of the page from Sunday night through Friday morning. (That may change depending on the news of the day.) There also is a Political Prisoner archive on the left sidebar. To suggest a prisoner for a profile, send me an e-mail.
For profiles of imprisoned Cuban journalists and related information, read the March 18 Project.