UPDATED, Sept. 4, 2010 — Alfredo Domínguez was released from prison in September 2010, under a deal struck by Spain, the Catholic Church and the Castro dictatorship.
In the "black spring" of 2003, Alfredo Domínguez Batista, now 45, was one of the Group of 75 independent journalists, human rights and democracy activists, independent librarians and other dissidents rounded up by the Castro dictatorship and sentenced to lengthy prison terms. But as with so many of these and other political prisoners in Cuba, their imprisonment only moved their opposition to tyranny and struggle for liberty to a new arena.
U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., explained how, in a January 2005 speech on the floor of the House of Representatives:
Mr. Domínguez Batista is a member of the Christian Liberation Movement and a peaceful pro-democracy activist attempting to liberate the people of Cuba. Because of his actions to bring freedom and democracy to Cuba, Mr. Domínguez Batista was targeted by the tyrant's machinery of repression. In March 2003, as part of the despicable crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy activists, he was arrested. In a sham trial, Mr. Domínguez Batista was sentenced to 14 years in the totalitarian gulag.
Despite the depraved conditions and the threat of confinement in punishment cells, described by the U.S. Department of State as ``semi-dark all the time, had no water available in the cell, and had a hole for a toilet,'' Mr. Domínguez Batista has continued to fight for basic human rights. According to Amnesty International, he has bravely participated in multiple hunger strikes to protest the abhorrent conditions in the gulag and the depraved treatment of fellow political prisoners.
Earlier this month, I posted on a recent example of Domínguez's continued activism:
Cuba is a nation of contradictions.
The dictatorship likes to paint a rosy picture for the world, what with the "free" education and "free" health care, and its success in standing up to the big, bad Americans.
But the reality, especially for Cubans who have to live under that dictatorship, the reality is something worse.
That's especially true for the political prisoners in Castro's gulag.
Which is why one political prisoner, Alfredo Domínguez Batista, is calling on the regime to open its prisons to international observers, like the International Red Cross, which it has long rejected.
In prison, according Domínguez, prisoners are constantly mistreated, the food is lousy and the vaunted health care is not so much.
"When a prisoner demands these rights, the guards refute them and prosecute them for being undisciplined. Meanwhile, we see compatriots serving long and unjust sentences, solely for defending the rights of the whole nation," Domínguez said, according to a story by journalist José Ramón Pupo Nieves posted at Payo Libre.
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.