One of the better writings I have read on the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo was this translation of a post by Cuban blogger Luis Felipe Rojas.
(A warning to the murdering Castro dictatorship: The longer you hold Felipe under house arrest, the more time he will have to write devastating pieces like this one.)
I am still suffering the pain over that avoidable death and over the impotence I feel because I am not able to attend the funeral processions due to the impediment enforced upon me by the police, but that has not limited my saying that, either way, what I am about to expose seems to be the final seven steps taken by the repressive mechanism to kill Zapata.
1- Pull together the legal theatrics that transformed an initial sentence of four years for lack of respect, into a 63-year prison term.
2 - The continuous beatings accompanied by obscene phrases and insults towards his ethnicity and the region he came from (“Worthless Nigger”, “Worthless Peasant”).
3 – Locate him in jails very far from his mother (Kilo Five and a Half Prison in Pinar del Rio, and Kilo 8 Prison in Camaguey).
4 – The beatings of November 2009 in the jail of Holguin when they smashed him in one leg and left a mark on his knee, which his mother was still able to see again today when she opened the coffin in her small house in Banes, also discovering that there were numerous other marks made by the blows that he surely received months ago.
5 - The forced relocation to Camaguey and the stealing of all his belongings on December 3rd, when they confiscated the only foods he ate in prison. This was the act that pushed him to declare himself on hunger strike.
6 – Denying him water for 18 days in the midst of the hunger strike, even after he declared himself on strike but specified that he would drink small quantities of water.
7 – The act of taking him from a hospital in Camaguey to a mental ward in West Havana, a ward that does not have the conditions to take care of a person who is in critical condition.
The power of analysis fails me in this case, but please don’t follow the government saying he died by his own hand. The execution order came down from the office of general Raúl Castro Ruz.
In his eloquence, Felipe inspired my friend Val Prieto to pen this outstanding piece about Zapata.