The Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation reported this week 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 Yoahnnes Arce Sarmientos.
Arce, of Guantanamo is one of numerous activists affiliated with the opposition Patriotic Union of Cuba, or UNPACU, currently in the Castro gulag. He was arrested May 13, and faces a pending charge of "assault" after he refused to be arbitrarily arrested by Cuban police because of his opposition activity. Officers responded by beating him, leaving Arce with injuries that included a broken tooth.
Immediately after his arrest, Arce started a hunger strike that he ended after 23 days, at the urging of his mother who was concerned about his declining health after he was transferred to a hospital's intensive care unit.
A government lawyer also told Arce that his case would be quickly resolved if he ended his protest.