UPDATED, Feb. 26, 2010 — Yoandry Gutiérrez was released from prison on Feb. 1, 2010.
UPDATED, Aug. 26, 2010 — Yosbany Socarrás was released from prison on Aug. 12, 2010, after completing his sentence.
Yoani Sanchez dedicates her blog to Cuba's Generation Y, which she describes as made up of Cubans "with names that start or include a Y. Born in the 1970s and 1980s, marked by schools in the countryside, Russian cartoons, illegal emigration and frustration."
And like their parents and grandparents, many members of Generation Y oppose the Castro dictatorship, belying the myth that communism and the revolution have anything to offer younger Cubans other than misery and repression. For their opposition, many members of Generation Y, like this week's three Prisoners of the Week, pay with time in the Castro gulag.
They are not merely "restless youth," but patriotic Cubans doing their part to build a better nation, even if costs them what little liberty they enjoy. They are the heroes not only Generation Y but an entire nation.
Yuselin Ferrera Espinosa, 21, was arrested and sentenced to 4 years in prison for "dangerousness" after he was caught putting up stickers declaring, "I don't cooperate with the dictatorship." Not content with locking Ferrera away in its dungeons, the regime sent him to a psychiatric hospital where doctors constantly interrogate him and try to break him of his political views, according to his father. To make matters worse, Ferrera is held with mentally ill and other dangerous common criminals.
Yosbany Socarrás González, 26, was convicted on June 4 of being a "pre-criminal social danger" and sentenced to 2 years in prison for meeting with "anti-social elements," i.e., human rights activists, according to a report posted at Payo Libre. A member of the Cuban Foundation for Human Rights, Socarrás was previously charged in 2005 with being a "pre-criminal social danger," a catch-all "crime" the dictatorship uses to try to silence its critics.
Yoandry Gutierrez Vargas, whose age was not reported, was convicted June 10 of "disrespecting" Fidel Castro and sentenced to 2 years in prison, according to a Plantados report. He and another young Cuban, Rigoberto Zamora Rodríguez were arrested after they were caught encouraging people to not vote in national "elections."
A large percentage of Cubans have known nothing but Castrosim, and many of them have known Castroism only since the early 1990s, when the Russians cut off the financial lifeline to Havana. Which means, of course, they have grown up in and tried to survive the poverty that defines Castro's Cuba. Throw in the repression the dictatorship uses to guarantee its own survival in the midst of that poverty, and it is no wonder that members of Generation Y rebel.
May their struggle, especially by those young Cubans in prison for their beliefs and their actions on behalf of liberty, one day soon help set Cuba free.
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 at email@example.com
For profiles of imprisoned Cuban journalists and related information, read the March 18 Project.