UPDATED, Feb. 25, 2011 — Jorge González was released in 2010 under deal struck between the Catholic Church, the government of Spain and the Castro dictatorship. He originally took exile in Spain but he is now living in Florida with his family.
Cuba's political prisoners are journalists, librarians, physicians and lawyers.
They also are husbands, fathers and sons, torn apart from their loved ones by a cruel dictatorship that cares nothing about love and family, but only its own evil hold on power. The sufferings of those in Fidel Castro's gulag are surpassed perhaps only by those who wait, and stand witness, for them on the outside.
Last week, a few of these family members were featured guests in Washington, D.C., as President Bush presented a major policy address on Cuba. No matter what you think about the speech, or its strengths and weaknesses, the emotional highlight inarguably had to be when Bush introduced the family members of four Cuban political prisoners — including Marlenis and Melissa Gonzalez, the wife and daughter, respectively, of prisoner of conscience Jorge Luis González Tanquero.
They recently arrived from Cuba, but without Melissa's father. Jorge Luis Gonzalez Tanquero dared to defend the human rights of his countrymen. For that, he was arrested for crimes against the state. Now he languishes in poor health inside a Cuban prison.
Gonzalez, now 37, was president of the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Independence Movement, when he and other dissidents, collectively known as the "Group of 75, were arrested during the "black spring," of March-April 2003. Gonzalez was convicted of violating Law 88, i.e. of being an American agent, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
CubaPP.info has more:
González Tanquero suffers from several illnesses and has refused medical care because he considers it insuffucient and not adequate. The majority of the Cuban political prisoners are victims of the repressive and inhumane treatment by the Cuban authorities in all of the prisons in the island. González Tanquero’s wife, Marlenis González Conesa has denounced her husband’s precarious condition on several occasions.
Bush's speech had its moments of grandeur, and its moments of disappointments. But the most memorable moment came when he recognized Cuba's political prisoners, about a half a dozen or so by name. It's rare that the hostages in Castro's dungeon get that kind of attention. Hopefully, more in the rest of the world, too, will notice.
So that Melissa Gonzalez can get her father back, safe and free.
(Read more about Melissa at Ninety Miles Away.)
One of the surest indicators of the repressive nature of the Castro regime is the jailing of political prisoners. To illustrate that reality, Uncommon Sense each week profiles one prisoner. There also is a Political Prisoner archive on the right 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.