Monday, January 15, 2007
PRESS RELEASE: The Assembly to Promote Civil Society in Cuba / The Death of Miguel Valdés Tamayo
(English translation of the original document sent to the Coalition of Cuban-American Women by Martha Beatriz Roque)
PRESS RELEASE – No. 2/07
The Assembly to Promote Civil Society in Cuba
The Assembly to Promote Civil Society in Cuba wants to call attention to a deplorable situation. Political prisoner and prisoner of conscience, Miguel Valdés Tamayo, who was conditionally released for medical concerns (licencia extrapenal) , died during the night on January 10, 2007 at Julio Trigo Hospital from cardiac arrest that followed a previous episode he had lived through. Tamayo was one of the 'Group of 75' who were arrested in the wave of repression in Cuba in March, 2003.
Miguel, 50, was admitted into the hospital on December 31, 2006, for severe cardiac arrhythmia. He was kept in intensive care until January 5, 2007, and was then moved to Ward 1C, Bed 9, where he was awaiting a possible medical discharge since there had been no water in the hospital for two days. A doctor had ordered a discharge for all the patients in the Ward, according to what Valdés Tamayo’s wife, Elisa, reported. There will be a vigil in the Mauline Funeral Home (Ma. Auxiliadora Ave., No 7, Arroyo Apolo), and his burial is scheduled for 1:00 PM on January 11th.
The Cuban government kept Valdes Tamayo, who had two visas for travel outside of the country, under constant harassment, and despite his serious state of health that was known perfectly well by the authorities who granted his conditional release, his white card (exit visa or freedom letter for Cuban slaves) was not authorized. The rest of Miguelito’s (as he was affectionately called) family had already left for exile. As an example of the cruel harassment to which he was subjected, it can be pointed out that last October (2006), in spite of his evident delicate state of health (he took up to 25 pills a day),State Security detained him on several occasions and beat him up:
-Monday, October 2, 2006: Upon leaving an Internet session at the U. S. Interest Section, they (State Security) drove him to the Police Station located at 21 and C in el Vedado. He was interrogated over the course of two hours, and they confiscated all his belongings.
-Wednesday, October 4, 2006: He was detained on G Street in el Vedado when he got out of a car to go back to his house. State Security confiscated all his belongings and his money.
-Friday, October 6, 2006: He was detained at the Embassy of the Netherlands at 4:00 PM, and later at 8:00 PM when he was leaving Martha Beatriz Roque’s home, he was arrested and driven to the Police Station on Ave. de Acosta in la Víbora.
-Wednesday, October 18, 2006: He was detained on 17th and L Streets in Vedado and taken to Police Station located on 21 and C, where he stayed for two hours. State Security seized his papers and his money, as well as submitted him to a strip search.
-Thursday, October 10, 2006: Upon finalizing an event in the BI Ladies in White, he was retained on the street by State Security, and they told him that they would visit him at home that night.
-Thursday, October 27, 2006: A Rapid Response Brigade in front of his house tried to prevent him from attending an Internet session. The members of the Brigade, among them women, inflicted several blows to his chest and face; they tore his sweater, and he was left with scratch marks on his swollen skin.
These examples of what occurred during the month of October are more than sufficient to appreciate and understand the level of stress under which this peaceful defender for the freedom of Cuba lived.
The Assembly to Promote Civil Society in Cuba holds the Cuban government responsible for the death of Miguel Valdes Tamayo and asks for solidarity from the internal opposition movement, the exile community, organizations that are defenders of human rights throughout the world, Christians, democratic countries, and everyone who recognizes that this as a political crime. The Assembly makes the request so that an end can come to the harassment to which the internal dissidence is subjected simply because it does not share ideas with the government. In addition, the Assembly urges the aforementioned groups to advocate for all those who choose to leave the country to have the right to do so freely, and to fundamentally demand immediate freedom for political prisoners in order to avoid other deaths
The Assembly to Promote Civil Society in Cuba
Havana, January 11, 2007
Sent from Cuba by Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello to the Coalition of Cuban-American Women / LAIDA CARRO / Email: Joseito76@aol.com
Translation: The Coalition of Cuban-American Women / TANYA WILDER / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org