UPDATED, Sept. 25, 2010 — Nelson Molinet was released from prison in September 2010 and was forced into exile in Spain under an agreement struck by Spain, the Catholic Church and the Castro dictatorship.
Despite its communist credentials — or perhaps because of that pedigree — Cuba is not a "worker's paradise."
Especially for those workers, like Nelson Molinet Espino, who challenge the legitimacy of the powers in charge.
In early March 2003, Molinet, secretary-general of the dissident Cuban Democratic Workers Federation, went on a hunger strike to demand the release of all political prisoners. The dictatorship responded March 20 by arresting Molinet and later convicting and sentencing him to 20 years in prison for, among other things, passing to a foreign news agency information about the human rights situation on the island.
Like with most political prisoners, however, Molinet's resistance did not stop behind bars. For example, soon after he arrived in prison, Molinet refused to wear a prison uniform, for which he was punished by his guards.
More recently, in April 2006, Molinet, who is in his early 40s, was transferred to another prison and placed in a punishment cell, after he expressed his support for a fellow prisoner, Normando Hernandez Gonzalez, who had been assaulted by guards. During the assault, Molinet reportedly shouted "Down With the Dictatorship!" and "Long Live Human Rights!"
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 profiles one prisoner. 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.