UPDATED, Aug. 12, 2010 — Aurelio Morales is no longer in prison, although I do not know when he was released. He, however, is keeping up the fight for Cuban freedom, as evidenced by this report.
The Castro dictatorship can lock its opponents away in its gulag. But it cannot always make them shut up, for prison is not just a form of punishment, it is another venue for their message that Cuba is not free.
Their continued opposition to the regime exposes them to even harsher treatment, but it also reveals the character of the men and women on the front lines in the struggle for liberty.
One of those men who has courageously taken his fight to the gulag is Aurelio Antonio Morales Ayala.
In January, Morales and other prisoners at the Combinado de Guantánamo prison were punished after they refused to attend a concertCuban folk singer Castroite troubadour Silvio Rodriguez. Rodriguez was touring the Cuban prison system and preaching some sort of twisted message that Cuban prisoners were fortunate to be in prison, or some other such nonsense.
And last month, Morales and several other prisoners at Combinado de Guantánamo were dispersed across the island, after they sparked anti-government protests by inmates. Guards beat the ringleaders, and then sent them to other jails. Morales was transferred to the Guanajay prison in Havana province, where on July 11 he started a hunger strike protest. Another political prisoner, Héctor Raúl Valle Hernández, told human rights activist/independent journalist Juan Carlos González Leiva, that Morales started his hunger strike to protest mistreatment by prison officials. Family members have been unable to visit him, and he currently is forced to sleep on the floor, with the bugs and the rats, in a punishment cell.
I could not find much about Morales's background, except that before his imprisonment he worked as a human rights activist. Gonzalez's report states that he currently is serving a 33-month sentence for the supposed crime of "disobedience," although other reports say he is serving a sentence of almost twice that.
But what is certain is that in prison, he has transformed himself into a true freedom fighter. Bars and barbed wire cannot fence him in, as carries forth with his struggle for his liberty, and that of the nation.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
For profiles of imprisoned Cuban journalists and related information, read the March 18 Project.