A State Security official at the Combinado del Este in Havana has advised political prisoner Arturo Suárez Ramos that if he does not agree by Monday to wear a prison uniform, his family will not be allowed to visit him.
Suárez, who in 1987 was sentenced to 30 years in prison for air piracy, was not impressed by the threats. He said officials are punishing him because in March he prepared for the United Nations Human Rights Council — of which, Cuba is shamefully a member — detailing human rights abuses at Combinado del Este.
One of those abuses are attempts by guards to force political prisoners to wear the uniform of a common criminal, as if they are guilty of a real crime. Air piracy may be deserving of punishment, but that is not why Suárez now is being punished.
Obviously, 22 years in prison has awakened in Suárez, 44, a passion for freedom and for his fellow Cubans. He will not easily give into the threats of his captors nor let their bars determine his actions.
"I have been in prison for 22 years, and they have not been able to bend me," Suárez said. "They will have to use violence, which is the last resort of the weak."