Cuban dissident Jorge Luis Garcia Perez "Antunez" was released from jail Wednesday, four days after he was arrested in obvious retaliation before his testimony last week to a U.S. Senate committee.
What also is obvious are two factors that contributed to Antunez's release, namely:
His own reputation as a tireless advocate for freedom and human rights in Cuba, earned through years of activism and uncomprising resistance against the Castro dictatorship. Antunez is one of Cuba's best-known dissidents, a reputation earned during the many protests he has lead and the many arrests he has suffered.
And the immediate response of other activists and supporters of Cuban freedom, lead by two U.S. senators, to demand Antunez's immediate release. They raised a stink -- we all raised a stink -- on television and on the Internet to show the dictatorship that its exercise of raw, brutal repression would not go unanswered.
Like cockroaches exposed to the light, the regime retreated once it realized that at least time, it would not be able to act with impunity.
Thousands of other Cubans without the public stature of Antunez remain in jail because of their opposition to the Castros. Unfortunately, we will never know most of their stories.
But Antunez's release is a small victory in the struggle against the dictatorship for it demonstrates that if we make sure to challenge the regime when it moves against its opponents like it did against Antunez, freedom will prevail.