Who Cares About Orlando Zapata Tamayo?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Cuban political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo is reportedly in a coma due to the 80-day hunger strike he undertook to protest the beatings and arbitrary sentences imposed on him by the Castro regime (adding up to 47 years).

Yet, by reading the latest reports out of Havana-based foreign news bureaus, this tragedy is apparently not as newsworthy as the Castro regime's drop in cigar sales, which has gotten extensive coverage this week.

Perhaps this shouldn't come as a surprise.

Two former Havana-based foreign correspondents -- Isabel Garcia-Zarza of Reuters and Vicente Botin of Spain's TVE -- have recently written books about their complex professional experiences in Castro's Cuba.

Both books coincide in describing how foreign journalists in Cuba "auto-censure" their articles, tone down criticism of the dictatorship and minimize its oppressive reality in order to avoid being expelled from the island by the Castro regime.

Unfortunately, a story about these two books has only been published in Spanish by El Nuevo Herald newspaper. We hope this story will also be reported in English, as it reveals a disturbing ethical challenge.

So who cares about Orlando Zapata Tamayo?

Time will tell, but the clock is sadly winding down.