UPDATED, Sept. 2, 2010 — Próspero Gaínza was released from prison Sept. 1, 2010, under a deal between Spain, the Catholic Church and the Castro dictatorship.
Payo Libre — in my view, the best Internet site for biographical and other information about Cuba's political prisoners — has not published updated news about Próspero Gaínza Agüero in a couple of years. He just isn't as well known as some of the other prisoners who, like Gaínza, were arrested during the "black spring" of March-April 2003.
Last fall, in a statement detailing how it had found that the Cuban regime had violated the rights of its political prisoners, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights described a little bit of Gaínza's story, before he was arrested, and since.
The petitioners report that Mr. Gaínza Agüero is a member of the Movimiento Nacional de Resistencia Cívica. According to the records supplied to the Commission he was arrested at his mother’s home on March 18, 2003. Cameras used to record and photograph papers, books, personal letters, Cubanet bulletins, copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, photographs and other documents were confiscated. The record shows that Mr. Gaínza Agüero was tried for “Crimes against Cuba’s National Independence and Economy” criminalized under Articles 7, 8 10 and 6 of Law No. 88, for having “collaborated with a radio station and other foreign media, receiving remuneration for his work; […] promoting and organizing public disturbances and […] compiling subversive material from the United States government and other foreign departments or entities, all for the supposed purpose of achieving the objectives of the Helms-Burton Act.” He was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison. In April 2004, his wife complained of the unsafe conditions of her husband’s incarceration, including poor diet. It is also reported that in June 2004, he sewed up his mouth to protest the prison authorities’ decision not to provide the inmates with food sent to them by their families.
Gaínza, who is about 50 years old, is originally from Moa, in far eastern Cuba.
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.