Francisco Díaz was released from prison Feb. 15, 2010.
The Cuban dictatorship has literally tried to beat the fight out of political prisoner Francisco Herodes Díaz Echemendía, 50, who has been imprisoned since August 1990, sentenced to 20 years, 9 months, in prison for "sabotage," "terrorism" "and other acts against state security." (An additional 18 months was tacked on to his sentence, after he participated in a 1992 protest against poor conditions in prison.)
As with so many other Cuban prisoners of conscience, prison has been just another arena for Díaz to champion the cause of Cuban liberty. His jailers have responded in kind.
In September 1997, according to Amnesty International, "over 30 prison guards at Combinado de Guantánamo Prison kicked and punched ... three prisoners while they were handcuffed. Jorge Luis García Pérez was beaten on the face, neck, abdomen, ribs and back; Nestor Rodríguez Pérez was beaten around the face and ribs, as well as being kicked so hard in the stomach that it caused him to defecate; Francisco Díaz Echemendía suffered injuries to his left arm and was also beaten on the neck, ribs, back and face, causing his nose and lip to split open.
Why Díaz is targeted for such treatment is not surprising. A member of the Pedro Luis Boitel Political Prisoner Association, Díaz has repeatedly denounced human rights violations by his jailers.
As a result, the Cuban authorities have turned down requests for his release, most recently in 2004, making Díaz one of the longest-imprisoned dissidents in 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.
For more on how you show your support for Francisco Díaz and other Cuban political prisoners, visit Bloggers United for Cuban Liberty.