For update, scroll down.
Cuban political prisoner Ariel Sigler Amaya, the subject of several recent posts because of his worsening health, is a leader of men, and not just because of the example he has set during his never-ending struggle with his captors.
Sigler, with other members of his family, is a co-founder and head of the Alternative Independent Option Movement (MIOA), one of numerous opposition groups on the island working to build a better Cuba, whether by presenting alternatives to the Castro dictatorship or trying to raise awareness about the dictatorship's crimes.
The latter is apparently what got human rights activist and MIOA member Nelson Curbelo Rodríguez with the secret police. Curbelo was arrested and imprisoned in Matanzas this past March, and as of earlier this month was awaiting trial on an apparent charge of "disrespect" — one of the so-called "crimes" used by the dictatorship to target its opponents
This past May, Curbelo's lawyer indicated that the fix against his client is on. The dictatorship's investigator on the case, according to lawyer Julio Candelario, had advised two defense witnesses to "be careful" about their association with Curbelo.
How Curbelo might have been influenced by Ariel Sigler, I don't know.
But I think the strength of his character and commitment is revealed by the fact that despite knowing what had happened to Sigler and his brothers, he was willing to follow their example and agitate for a free Cuba.
I am certain Ariel Sigler would not want for Curbelo what he has suffered for the past six years. But if he is somehow aware of what has happened to Curbelo, I am also certain that Sigler would be proud of Curbelo's own efforts and would never worry about "being careful" about his admiration.
And neither should anyone else.
UPDATED, Aug. 26, 2009
Curbelo, 48, on Aug. 21 was tried, convicted of "attacking" and "disrespecting" four state agents and sentenced to 2 years in prison. As is typical, police had surrounded the courthouse to prevent human rights activists from attending the "trial."