Protests Gear Up in Cuba

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Two important stories in The Miami Herald:

Dozens arrested as protest gears up in Cuba

Cuban security agents begin a crackdown intended to stop protests commemorating a political prisoner's death.

Cuban security agents reportedly arrested about 40 dissidents and put another 50 under house detention Tuesday at the start of a crackdown designed to block protests one year after the death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo.

Click here for more.

The mom of Zapata leads battle for freedom in Cuba

The mother of former political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died Feb. 23, 2010 of a hunger strike, has become a dissident activist in her own right.

Reina Luisa Tamayo's country life was simple: she raised animals and kids, worked in cafeterias and bodegas, and did people's laundry.

Now approaching 62, the modest Cuban abuela finds herself catapulted onto an international stage. Her son died after an 85-day hunger strike a year ago Wednesday, and she has taken his public calling on as her own [...]

In the year since her son's death, Tamayo has become one of the most visible members of the Ladies in White group of mothers, wives and female relatives of political prisoners. Harassed relentlessly, the Catholic Church eventually had to intervene and ask the Cuban government to call off its mobs.

"They have pulled my pants down in public. They have tried to suffocate me with a rag soaked in gasoline. They have pushed and dragged me. I have had my breasts exposed in the street. Bloomers have been pulled down in front of the whole neighborhood," she said. "All of that has been done to this family."

At one protest, someone stabbed her daughter-in-law in the breast with a needle.

Click here for more.