For updates, see below.
Yordis García Fournier and Izael Poveda Silva are in jail because they stood up for a fellow freedom fighter.
On Aug. 31, García and Poveda, activists with the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy, went to visit in a Guantanamo jail and deliver some cigarettes to another member of the group, Enyor Díaz Allen, who had been arrested a day earlier. The group began shouting anti-Castro slogans — "Down with Raul" and "Down with Fidel" — which upset the guards to the point that they used tear gas to silence the demonstration, according to a report from Cuban Democratic Directorate.
Díaz was released the next day after paying a 30-peso fine for being a "public disorder," but García and Poveda were charged with "resistance" and held in jail.
If Castro justice is anything, it is efficient in punishing those who dare to stand up to the dictatorship. On Sept. 3 — four days after their arrest — García and Poveda were tried and convicted. García was sentenced to 1 year in jail. Poveda, who was released from prison in January after serving 3 years for "disrespecting" Fidel Castro, received a 16-month term.
An appeal was planned, but by the day after the trial, García and Poveda had already been transferred to the notorious Combinado de Guantánamo prison.
UPDATED, Sept. 17, 2008
Four activists were detained during an appeals hearing for García and Poveda were detained after they erupted in protest in a Guantanamo courtroom. Security guards moved quickly and with force to silence the demonstration and to take the protesters into custody.
As of Sept. 17, Rosaida Ramírez, Niovis García Fournier, Pastor García Fournier remained in custody; and Pedro Poveda, who is 72, had been released.
UPDATED, Sept. 2, 2009 García was released from prison Aug. 31, 2009.
UPDATED, April 1, 2010 — I am not sure when Poveda was released, but he reportedly spent much of the month of March in jail. However, he was re-arrested on March 31, after he and other dissidents burned a copy of the Cuban constitution.
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.