(AP / José Goitia)
Ricardo González Alfonso is jailed in Combinado del Este, a Cuban prison near Havana.
In April 2003, the Havana Provincial Tribunal sentenced Ricardo, at left, to 20 years in prison under Article 91 of the Cuban penal code for "acts against the independence or the territorial integrity of the state." A poet and scriptwriter for state-owned Televisión Cubana, Ricardo began working for the independent press in 1995, founding an association of journalists and the award-winning newsmagazine De Cuba. He was a freelance reporter for foreign media outlets and was the Havana correspondent for the Paris-based press freedom group Reporters Without Borders at the time of his arrest. Ricardo suffers from hypertension, arthritis, allergies, chronic bronchitis, and several digestive and circulatory ailments.
Before leaving, Graciela packed 70 pounds worth of food and medicine--not only for her brother and his family but also for the families of the other 19 journalists who have been jailed since the Cuban government's 2003 crackdown on the independent press. Her friends said it was ridiculous for someone her age to lug so much weight but Graciela was determined.