UPDATED, Feb. 27, 2011 — The Catholic Church announced Feb. 26, 2011, that Diosdado González would be released.
An earlier version of this post was published June 4, 2010, with the headline, "Cuban political prisoner's wife joins him in hunger strike."
Diosdado González and his wife Alejandrina García de la Riva have ended their respective hunger strikes. For details, see update below.
González was one of at least six political prisoners last week transferred to jails closer to their homes and families, under an arrangement worked out by the Castro dictatorship with the Cuban Catholic Church.
But as González's wife, Alejandrina García de la Riva, has demonstrated with her words and actions, the details of the deal have not worked out the way some had expected.
Yes, González is in a prison in his home province of Matanzas, but the punishment regimen he is suffering is as harsh as ever. In fact, soon after arriving at the Agüica prison, he was thrown into a punishment cell because of his refusal to wear a prison uniform. He then started a hunger strike.
In sympathy with and for the love of her husband, García planted herself outside the prison and started her own hunger strike. Before starting her protests, she called Cardinal Jaime Ortega and asked him to pray for her because she said her protest would last until her husband was released from prison.
And that is the end of Ortega's deal with the dictatorship. Or at least it should be.
The couple's hunger strikes are unfortunate because they are trying to sway a regime that does not care if they die, except for how it might affect its standing in the world. They do need our prayers.
But their protests are not futile because they reveal how far short the arrangement between the church and the Castro dictatorship falls in providing Cuban political prisoners and their families what they need and deserve:
TOTAL FREEDOM NOW!
Read my original profile of González, published in 2006, here.
UPDATED, June 5, 2010 — Punt de Vista has more, including an interview with García which she describes how her husband's imprisonment is now actually more severe than it was before the transfer.
UPDATED, June 6, 2010 — Diosdado and Alejandrina have ended their respective hunger strikes, after prison officials listened to and acceded to some of their demands: Alejandrina was able to visit her husband; and Diosdado won't have to wear uniform of common prisoner and he will be allowed to not shave.