There are many reasons to be suspect about the deal between Spain, the Catholic Church and the Castro dictatorship under which 52 Cuban political prisoners are suppose to be released from prison.
One reason is the apparently forgotten "53rd prisoner," Rolando Jiménez Posada.
Like the other 52 prisoners, Jiménez has been imprisoned since the "black spring" of 2003, and like the other 52 prisoners, Amnesty International has declared him a "prisoner of conscience."
Jiménez, however, is not on the list of prisoners to be released and subsequently kicked out of the country, like the 36 prisoners released so far.
No good reason for this has been given, but that is not a surprise, given everything else that is wrong with the Spain-church-Cuba deal.
One thing we can control is to make sure we don't forget Rolando Jiménez Posada.
Which is why I am republishing part of a post I wrote about him earlier this year:
If the Cuban government releases all 52 political prisoners covered under its deal with Spain and the Catholic Church, one prisoner recognized by Amnesty International as a "prisoner of conscience" will remain in the Castro gulag.
His name is Rolando Jiménez Posada.
A lawyer, Jiménez has been imprisoned since shortly after the "black spring" crackdown of 2003, when the other prisoners who have been released or who are set to be released, were arrested. It was not until four years later, in April 2007, that the dictatorship formally sentenced him to 12 years in prison for "disrespecting" Fidel Castro and releasing secrets of the state security police.
A year after his arrest, Amnesty International had named Jiménez a "prisoner of conscience."
Rolando Jiménez Posada, aged 33, is a lawyer and Director of the Centro Democrático Pinero de Derechos Humanos, Pinos Democratic Human Rights Centre, in Isla de Pinos, which was created in July 2002. In January 2002 he was dismissed from his jobas legal adviser of a veterinary medicine company, reportedly due to his problems with state security.
He has been detained and threatened numerous times over the past few years. For example, according to reports, on 10 December 2001, while taking part in a peaceful celebration to commemorate the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he and several others were reportedly beaten and pushed into police vehicles and then dumped in remote areas of Isla de la Juventud.
On 12 June 2002, after taking part in a peaceful march calling for the release of political prisoners, he was temporarily detained and threatened with imprisonment if he continued carrying out opposition activities. On 31 July 2002 he was said to have been threatened at his home in Nueva Gerona, capital of Isla de la Juventud, after handing out copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On 25 August 2002 he was again reportedly threatened at his home by State Security who told him that he would be imprisoned if he continued carrying out public activities in support of political prisoners.
Most recently, he was detained on 25 April 2003 when his home was searched by the Department of State Security and police officers. They reportedly confiscated printed materials, including a book containing addresses of anti-Castro exile groups. He was initially said to be held at the Ministry of the Interior headquarters in Nueva Gerona. An official there reportedly told his wife and mother of their four year old son that if she abandoned her husband, she would get economic help and a good job.
In June 2003 it was reported that Rolando Jiménez would be tried along with Rafael Millet Leyva at a court in Isla de la Juventud, charged with “propaganda enemiga”, “enemy propaganda”, “desacato”, “disrespect” and “espionaje”, “espionage”, allegedly for writing anti-government slogans on public buildings. However, as yet no formal charges have been made or a trial taken place.