UPDATED, March 16, 2011 — The Catholic Church announced that Librado Linares would be released and allowed to stay in Cuba.
I first saw this photograph of Librado Linares, 46, several months ago, and was struck by the power of his eyes. They are, I suspect, true windows into his soul and heart, reflecting the confidence and courage with which he opposes the Castro regime.
Linares, like so many other Cubans, has paid a high price for that opposition.
A long-time dissident, Linares was arrested during the "black spring" crackdown in March-April 2003, and sentenced to 20 years in prison for "crimes against the independent, sovereignty and economy of the country," according to Payolibre.
Prison walls, however, did not stop Linares.
Soon after he was convicted, Linares and another political prisoner, Luis Enrique Ferrer, were thrown into solitary confinement for refusing to salute a prison official, according to Amnesty International. Other prisoners showed their support for Linares and Ferrer by going on hunger strikes, until their compatriots were returned to their regular cells.
Like other political prisoners, Linares has suffered from a variety of health ailments. In March of this year, his wife, Magalys Broche de la Cruz told journalist Roberto Santana Rodríguez that Linares was almost blind because of disease, according to Payolibre.
I could not find more recent information about his condition, but I do not doubt that in his eyes, we can still find the spirit of a fighter, of someone committed to the freedom of a nation.
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.