UPDATED, March 6, 2011 — The Cuban Catholic Church announced March 4 that Luis Deliz would be released and take exile in Spain.
Luis Mariano Deliz Utria is the least well-known of the four political prisoners currently on hunger strike at the Holguín Provincial Prison. He was not rounded up during the "black spring" of 2003 — he has been imprisoned since 1999. And some may argue that is crime, illegal exit, is not a political crime, like working as an independent journalist or librarian.
I don't know what Deliz's level of political consciousness was when he entered the gulag — of course, is there a more courageous act of political defiance of the Castro dictatorship than risking your life to try to leave the island? But by now, after serving 9 years of a 13-year sentence, he has earned his bones.
There is not a lot of information available about Deliz. Now in his late 40s, Deliz was thrown into a punishment cell two years ago, in an apparent attempt to break his will. Despite having no light and little water and sharing his space with rats and cockroaches, Deliz refused to submit.
Despite the toll their protest is taking on their bodies, that same spirit now drives Deliz and the other hunger strikers — Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta, Alfredo Dominguez Batista and Orlando Zapata Tamayo. (To learn more about the other protesters, click on the names on the right sidebar.)
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.