Reporters Without Borders voiced concern on July 6 about the health and safety of Cuba’s imprisoned journalists, especially Normando Hernández González, the editor of the Colegio de Periodistas Independientes de Camagüey, an independent news agency, who is still waiting for the special medical release his wife requested for him a year ago because of his poor health.
This concern is heightened by the news of the death on 24 June of 47-year-old dissident Manuel Acosta in Cienfuegos provincial prison, in the centre of the country, where he had been held for three days for “pre-criminal dangerousness.” The authorities said he killed himself.
“How long do the Cuban authorities plan to keep people in prison for working as journalists whose state of health has become incompatible with imprisonment?” Reporters Without Borders asked. “Are they waiting for Hernández to try to take his own life before finally giving him the special release on health grounds that he has been demanding for the past year.”
The press freedom organisation added: “Subjecting ailing people to such treatment, or rather lack of treatment, is to kill them slowly. The gesture we are waiting for from the authorities is not a political one. It is purely humanitarian. The dialogue which Spanish foreign minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos has begun with the Cuban government should focus on this emergency situation.”
The state of health of Hernández, who is serving a 25-year sentence imposed during the “Black Spring” crackdown of March 2003, is becoming more and more alarming, says his wife, Yaraí Reyes. She found him in very poor shape when she visited him on 21 June. He weighed just 53 kilos. His ailments include severe intestinal problems that prevent him eating normally. He also has tuberculosis for which he is not getting the necessary treatment. He has refused to eat several times since 4 March. Reyes requested a special medical release permit on his behalf on 7 July 2006. Without success.
Other journalists or Cuban dissidents mentioned in this article are:
Pedro Argüelles Morán
Fabio Prieto Llorente
José Ubaldo Izquierdo Hernández
Víctor Rolando Arroyo Carmona
José Luis García Paneque
Pablo Pacheco Avila
Iván Hernández Carrillo
We ask acting President Raul Castro to do the right thing and release ALL people mentioned in this article.