I was not able to determine the circumstances of Roberley Villalobos Torres' incarceration, such as details about his "crime" and his prison sentences — one report said he had a long history of opposition activities and ensuing dealings with the police — but there was enough available information to conclude that he is worthy of being profiled as a Cuban Political Prisoner of the Week.
Just consider what happened to him last week at the Las Tunans provincial prison. Political prisoner José Daniel Ferrer García told independent journalist/human rights activist Juan Carlos González Leiva via telephone that Villalobos on Sept. 1 lost consciousness as the result of a hunger strike he had started Aug. 14. Villalobos, who is 37 or 38, had started the protest to demand that prison authorities, after some six months of waiting, provide him with medical attention for his chronic emphysema and a spot on his lung, according to González's report, posted at Payo Libre.
Ferrer pleaded for the international community to intercede with the Castro dictatorship on his fellow prisoner's behalf.
"I ask for an SOS to the international community for Roberley's life," Ferrer told González on Sept. 2, the day after Villalobos collapsed. "It is a human being, it is a human life that is being extinguished. He is in grave danger as a consequence of the premeditated evil of human beings. For than humanity should not cross its arms.
Ferrer said Villalobos also is suffering from injuries caused by a common prisoner sent by State Security to harm him.
"Yesterday, he was at the point of death," Ferrer said.
Ferrer's testimony might be considered payback for all that Villalobos has done on behalf of his fellow prisoners. In one of the few available reports about his activities, former political prisoner Martha Beatriz Roque reported in January that Villalobos had spent three months in an isolation cell, as punishment for his denouncements of the abuses and corruption he had witnessed while in prison.
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.