... if they are terrorists.
A Diario de Cuba story this morning reminds that in December 2001, the Castro dictatorship commemorated the 20th anniversary of the deaths of 10 Irish Republican Army prisoners in British prisons after hunger strikes they started to demand that they be treated as political prisoners.
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, who met with Fidel Castro after the dedication, explained what the Irish protests were about.
‘‘They were about the denial of human rights to those prisoners and their families and friends and of course those are important fundamental issues," Adams said. ‘‘They believed in freedom, they believed in independence and they believed in the right of the people of Ireland to shape our own destiny in our own way."
Not unlike what Cuban prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo was seeking before he succumbed last week to the effects of a hunger strike — and ensuing maltreatment by his captors — he started Dec. 3.
The Castro dictatorship murdered Zapata, so it is not treating him as a hero or martyr. Rather it is denouncing him as a "common criminal."
The hypocrisy and irony are not surprising. Without it, the dictatorship would not be the dictatorship.
Earlier this month, I wrote that Zapata needed the luck of the Irish hunger strikers, whose protests in 1981 drew worldwide attention and sympathy while they were still alive.
Only in death did Zapata receive something comparable.
Only in a free Cuba will there ever be a public monument to Zapata on par with the Irish memorial.
But that is not what Cuba — or Zapata — need right now.
For the truest memorial to this patriot will not be a block of stone and metal.
It will be the defeat of his killers, and the prevailing of the freedom he sought until his death.