The Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation reported lin June 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.)
Uncommon Sense is attempting 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 prisoners are Luis Enrique Labrador Diaz and David Piloto Barcelo.
Labrador, Piloto and two other men were arrested Jan. 14, 2011, after they went into Revolutionary Square in Havana and tossed into the air leaflets loaded with anti-Castro and anti-communist messages. When police arrived, the men sat down on the ground, an act the prosecutor deemed "a defiant and provocative attitude...that interrupted the traffic flow," according to Human Rights Watch.
After trials -- which family members had been warned by the authorities not to attend -- Labrador and Piloto were convicted of "disrespect" and "public disorder" and sentenced to 5 years in prison. The other two activists, Yordanis Martinez and Walfrido Rodriguez were sentenced to 3 years and 5 years, respectively, but they were released as part of a Christmastime mass parole in December 2011.
Cuban human rights activists have called on Amnesty International to recognize Labrador and Pioloto as "prisoners of conscience," which the organization says includes those people "who have been jailed because of their political, religious or other conscientiously-held beliefs ... provided that they have neither used nor advocated violence."
Prison has not shaken their resistance to the Castro dictatorship.
The Hablemos Press news agency reported this week that Labrador -- considered one of the most "rebellious" political prisoners -- had recently been transferred to an isolation cell in Aguica prison after he demanded guards allow him at least an hour of sunlight and a telephone so he could call relatives.
Piloto' has had similar experiences while in prison, according to Hablemos Press.
Both prisoners have suffered beatings and other punishments because they have refused to wear uniforms of common prisoners and participate in programs to "re-educate" them, which might earn them an early release from jail, according to the report.