UPDATED, Sept. 25, 2010 — José Martínez was released from prison in September 2010 and forced into exile in Spain under a deal struck by Spain, the Catholic Church and the Castro dictatorship.
As a journalist, I have taken a special interest in Cuba's independent journalists, especially those who are imprisoned because of their work and the opposition to the Castro dictatorship. The regime saves some of its worst treatment for the reporters and editors who work against great odds to tell the real stories about the real Cuba.
Also receiving special mistreatment from the dictatorship are Cuba's independent librarians. Thugs working for the regime harass librarians, and the security services make it a habit of raiding private homes where many of these libraries are housed and seizing books, newspapers and other items. And several librarians are serving long prison terms for their dissent.
One of those librarians is José Miguel Martinez Hernández.
Director of the General Juan Bruno Zayas General Library, Martinez, 43, was arrested during the "black spring" crackdown in March-April 2003, and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
In addition to his work as a librarian, Martinez was a founder of the Cuban Committee of Pacifist Opponents, and a leader of the Christian Liberation Movement's Varela Project.
For more on Cuba's independent libraries, visit Friends of Cuban Libraries.
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 will be 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.