UPDATED, April 9, 2011 — Rámdol Roca was released from prison and took exile in Spain.
For update, see below.
In the United States or any other free country, Rámdol Roca Mursulí might be dismissed as nothing more than a vandal, for throwing stones through an office window and scribbling some graffiti on the walls. A fine, an order to pay restitution and maybe some time in jail.
In Cuba, however, when the office belongs to a government currency exchange, and the graffiti consists of anti-Castro slogans, that is an act of political defiance, and prosecuted not as a mere crime like vandalism, but as an affront to regime itself. In fact, when Roca was arrested in 2002 for doing just that, he was charged not only with "evasion," but with being a "pre-criminal social danger" — the charge of choice when the dictatorship seeks to punish someone because of their anti-regime views.
Roca was tried, convicted and sentenced to 9 years in prison.
This past week, he used a telephone call from Canaleta prison in Ciego de Ávila to tell independent journalist/human rights activist Juan Carlos González Leiva that he has spent more than 120 days in a punishment cell. He sleeps on the floor surrounded by insects and mice, and guards restrict his access to sunlight, correspondence and the telephone, despite prison regulations allowing such privileges.
UPDATED, Nov. 16, 2008.
Roca has been in the punishment cell for six months.
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.