Arnoldo Herrera Campoalegre
UPDATED, Sept. 4, 2010 — Arnaldo Herrera was released from prison Sept. 1, 2010.
Cuban human rights activist Arnoldo Herrera Campoalegre has made a fall guy for the general discontent on the Cuban street. Last week, Herrera, vice president of a "Martiana Commission," on Sept. 9 was sentenced to 1 year in prison on a charge of "disrespect," after signs carrying anti-government slogans appeared near his home in Havana.
The dictatorship, which had been harassing Herrera since at least earlier this summer, finally got its man.
Martiana Commissions are unofficial groups whose members' goal is to educate the Cuban public about the social teachings of José Martí.
On June 26, Herrera was arrested and detained for several hours during a police operation targeting a meeting of the unofficial Association of Independent Educators in Havana. When Herrera, who was accompanied by his two young daughters, refused to comply with a police order barring him from the meeting, officers threw him a patrol car and took him to a local police station.
Cuban police patrol car holding Arnaldo Herrera after his arrest in June
I cannot imagine the fear felt by Herrera's little girls, on that day and again after learning this week that he was being imprisoned in the Castro gulag. But I am certain that when the day comes they that fully understand what happened, they will be proud to call Arnoldo Herrera their father.