Canaleta Prison. Ciego de Ávila, Cuba. February 2, 2010

Respectable Mr. Nelson Mandela:

We who sign this letter are Cuban political prisoners of conscience, who want to send our sincere congratulations to the twentieth anniversary of your well deserved and historic release from prison.

On February 11, 1990, with your release, the world witnessed the beginning of a process of change from irrational social order to an inclusive and equal society made up of all South Africans, putting an end to the repugnant apartheid regime.

It was a difficult road, full of hard sacrifices that fortunately, thanks to your persevering and all-encompassing look to the future of South Africa: “with all and for the good of all” as the Cuban apostle José Martí said, culminated as a model for those that love freedom and equality for everyone and condemn segregation in all its manifestations.

We, and many other Cubans, as well as you and many of your countrymen, know the pain of prison, only for wanting to create our own identity, what we consider best for the common good, which is nothing but equal rights and responsibilities for all citizens.

Exactly one month and one week after the twentieth anniversary of your release from prison, we will honor the seventh year of our unjust imprisonment. We are citizens condemned to long sentences for civic and peaceful acts, such as the collection of signatures requesting a referendum, independent journalism and the defense of human rights. The ultra totalitarianism that has reigned in Cuba for more than half a century, is a system of segregation in terms of civil and political rights that, while not clearly defined in laws and public signs, can in practice only be used in order to support the government.

For peacefully dissenting from this unjust order, as what happened during apartheid in South Africa with you and the South African National Congress, we are constantly accused of defending the interests and ideologies of foreign powers, an argument used to mask political repression and justify long prison sentences.

Hon. Mr. Mandela, permit us in this letter to borrow one of your famous phrases, adapt it to our reality and use it as a call to all people of goodwill. “Do not appeal to our reason, but rather to your hearts.”

From behind the bars of intolerance we celebrate as our own the twentieth anniversary of your release, and we feel sure that you with your grand heart, you will celebrate as if it were your own, next March 18th, the suffering of our seventh year in prison.

Once again we wish you and all South Africans happiness in this worldwide celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the end of your captivity.

May God continue blessing you.

From Cuban prisons, political prisoners and prisoners of conscience:

Prisoner Age condemned to             Prison

1. Antonio Ramón Díaz Sánchez 48 años 20 años Canaleta. Ciego de Ávila

2. Adolfo Fernández Sainz 61 años 15 años Canaleta. Ciego de Ávila

3. Pedro Arguelles Moran 62 años 20 años Canaleta. Ciego de Ávila

4. Pablo Pacheco Ávila 39 años 120años Canaleta. Ciego de Ávila

5. Félix Navarro Rodríguez 56 años 25 años Canaleta. Ciego de Ávila

6 Efrén Fernández Fernández. 47 años 12 años Guanajay. Prov. Habana

7. Alfredo Felipe Fuentes 60 años 26 años Guanajay. Prov.  Habana

8. Héctor Raúl del Valle Hernández 41 años 12 años Guanajay. Prov.  Habana

9. José Ubaldo Izquierdo Hernández 44 años 16años Guanajay. Prov.  Habana

10. Regis Iglesias Ramírez 40 años 18 años Combinado del Este. Cdad Habana

11. Ricardo González Alfonso 60 años 25 años Combinado del Este. Cdad Habana

12. Ángel Moya Acosta 46 años 20 años Combinado del Este. Cdad Habana

13. Julio Cesar Gálvez Rodríguez 65 años 12 años Combinado del Este. Cdad Habana

14. Omar Rodríguez Saludes 38 años 27 años Toledo. Cdad Habana

15. José Miguel Martínez Hernández 46años 13 años Quivicán. Prov.  Habana

16. José Daniel Ferrer García 39años 25 años El Típico. Las Tunas

17. Alfredo Domínguez Batista 49años 14años El Típico. Las Tunas

18. Iván Hernández Carrillo 39años 25años Guamajal. Villa Clara

19. José Luis García Paneque 44años 24años Las Mangas. Granma

20. Leonel Grave de Peralta 33 años 25 años Boniato. Santiago de Cuba

21. Jesús Mustafá Felipe 65 años 26 años Provincial de Guantánamo. Gtmo.

22. Arnaldo Ramos Lauzerique 67 años 20 años Nieves Morejon. Santi Espíritu

23. Blas Giraldo Reyes Rodríguez 54años 25 años Nieves Morejon. Santi Espíritu

24. Omar Moisés Ruiz Hernández 62años 18años Nieves Morejon. Santi Espíritu

25. Luis Enrique Ferrer García 33años 28 años Mar Verde. Santiago de Cuba

26. Alexis Rodríguez Fernández 44años 15años Aguadores. Santiago de Cuba.

27. Ricardo Silva Gual 36años 10 años Aguadores. Santiago de Cuba

28. Ariel Sigler Amaya 45 años 20 años Combinado del Este. Cdad Habana

29. Normando Hernández 39 años 25 años Combinado del Este. Cdad Habana

30. Horacio Julio Piña Borrego 43 años 20 años Km cinco y medio. Pinar del Río

31. Eduardo Díaz Fleitas 58 años 21años Km cinco y medio. Pinar del Río

32. Rolando Jiménez Posada 42 años 12 años El Guayabo. Isla de la Juventud.

33. Arturo Pérez de Alejo Rodríguez 53 años 20 años Prisión Provincial el Pre. Villa Clara