Orlando Zapata's Mother Urges Tighter Sanctions

Tuesday, July 12, 2011
From Deutsche Presse:

Mother of late Cuban dissident asks US to "double" the embargo

Reina Luisa Tamayo, mother of a Cuban dissident who died last year on hunger strike, called Tuesday on the US Congress to strengthen policies against the communist government of Cuban President Raul Castro.

'The embargo can never be lifted,' she told Cuban-American legislators and reporters in Washington. 'Rather, it should be doubled.'

She said tough policies were a way to make the 'murderous' regime disappear.

'We have to close every lock (to the Castros), so they give up power, because they are stepping on and humiliating a people, and they are the only ones who are living. They don't care about the people anymore,' Tamayo said.

Her son, Orlando Zapata, was arrested during Havana's so-called 'Black Spring' crackdown in 2003, classified as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. The Cuban government insists there are no political prisoners on the communist island.

Zapata died in detention in February 2010, after an 83-day hunger strike.

His death spurred a wave of international criticism of the Cuban government and was believed to have been key to a round of talks between Cuban authorities and Roman Catholic Church officials on the island, leading to this year's release of around 50 imprisoned dissidents.

Tamayo repeatedly denounced harassment by Cuban authorities and arrived in Miami in early June, along with her husband and several other family members.