The Washington Post Should Apologize

Sunday, June 12, 2011
The Washington Post owes the family of late political prisoner and hunger striker, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, an apology.

In its print edition (page A3), the Post ran a photograph (see below) of Zapata's Tamayo's mother, Reina Luisa, arriving in Miami.

Here's the written caption underneath the photo:

"Reina Luisa Tamayo of Cuba carries a flag-draped urn containing the ashes of her son, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, after her arrival at Miami International Airport. Tamayo's son, a Cuban who was considered by some to be a political prisoner, died while on a hunger strike. She and other family members are immigrating to the United States."

"Considered by some to be a political prisoner"?

Every major international human rights organization -- from Amnesty International to Human Rights Watch -- recognized Orlando Zapata Tamayo as a prisoner of conscience since his arrest during the infamous Black Spring crackdown of 2003.

The question for the Post is -- who didn't consider Zapata Tamayo to be a political prisoner (in order to merit such an insult)?

The Castro brothers?

The prison officials
that beat and tortured Zapata Tamayo -- which led him to undertake an 85-day hunger strike and to his death?

The Cuban state security thugs that constantly harassed and assaulted his mother?

The soldiers that would physically impede Reina Luisa from visiting her son's grave?

This family has sacrificed way too much -- and suffered more than most could imagine -- for the Washington Post to still be giving the Castro brothers (which have executed, imprisoned and exiled more people than any dictatorship in the history of the Western Hemisphere) the benefit of the doubt.