UPDATED, Nov. 19, 2010 — Adrian Alvarez was released from prison in November 2010 and took exile in Spain.
There's a lot that the Internet doesn't reveal about Cuban political prisoner Adrián Álvarez Arencibia — such as, what he did to get himself arrested in 1985, at age 18. The dictatorship that locked up Álvarez would rather have the world forget about him, and the hundreds of other prisoners of conscience in Fidel Castro's gulag.
Here's what we do know about Álvarez:
Seven years after he was arrested, in 1992, Álvarez was convicted of "terrorism," "espionage" and "activities against the state, and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Presuming he gets credit for time served, Álvarez is scheduled for release in 2015.
If he lives that long.
The last update on Álvarez posted at Payo Libre — one of the most complete online resources on Cuban political prisoners — is dated November 2005. In a note smuggled out of the Combinado del Este prison, Álvarez complains that prison officials have denied him medical treatment for various ailments, including severe glaucoma, chronic gastritis and skin problems.
Payo Libre also has posted a copy, in Spanish, of an October 2003 essay in which Álvarez describes the "barbarism," of life in a Cuban prison.
CubaPP.info has more on the essay:
In 2003 Alvarez Arencibia stated in one of his writings that the barbarism that was present in prisons during the last century is still present in Cuba’s prisons, albeit in a different version. In his well documented essay, Alvarez Arencibia provides examples of prisoner mistreatment during the past and in Castro’s jails. He points out that the aggressive execution of a plan to build prisons in the early part of the Castro Regime cannot be interpreted as a progressive act of the government, but rather the prelude to the repressive campigns the government has subjected the Cuban people throughout the years.
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.