UPDATED, Sept. 10, 2014 -- 16 years in Cuban prisons has made Ernesto Borges a very sick man.
The Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation reported June 23 that by its count, there are currently at least 114 political prisoners in Cuban jails, up from 102 at the end of 2013. (Read the list of prisoners here.)
Today and on each of the next 100 days or so I'm going to try to honor these brave Cubans by sharing their names and little about their respective stories. Ever since I started this blog, I have felt it vital to remember their names, names the regime would rather have the world never know. That is the only way to fully grasp the injustices they are suffering.
Today's prisoner is Ernesto Borges Perez.
Ernesto Borges Pérez
Ernesto Borges Pérez was the Cuban Jack Bauer.
Like the character on TV's "24," Borges was a highly intelligent, highly trained spy in service of his country.
But his masters in the Interior Ministry and the communist dictatorship, did not anticipate that Borges, like Bauer, had a conscience. And that once he was out in the field doing their dirty work — in his case, in Moscow during glasnost and perestroika — he would be changed by what he saw.
When he returned to Cuba, Borges decided he would attack the communist system from within, stealing what he knew about Cuban agents who had infiltrated the United States — after all, he had helped train them — and passing it on to American diplomats in Havana.
It was dangerous work. Getting caught might mean death.
On July 17, 1998, he got caught, and after a secret military trial the following January, he was sentenced, not to death, but to 30 years in prison for espionage.