Cuban President Raul Castro said Wednesday he is sorry about the death of prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died Tuesday after a hunger strike lasting more than 12 weeks.
Castro said Cuba wasn't to blame for the jail inmate's death and defended Cuba's judicial system, saying:
There are no torture victims, there have not been any torture victims nor have there been any executions.Castro's foes blame the Cuban government for Zapata Tamayo's death.
That sort of thing happens at the base at Guantanamo.
The Cuban Democratic Directorate said the dissident began the hunger strike on Dec. 3, 2009, and died 82 days later, not quite 12 weeks.
A Democratic Directorate report cited on at Marc Masferrer's Uncommon Sense blog alleged that prison employees:
- Beat Zapata Tamayo in October 2009, causing a head injury that required surgery.
- Denied Zapata Tamayo drinking water for 18 days after he had begun the hunger strike, triggering kidney failure.
- Transferred the inmate to a hospital, where he "was left to languish nearly completely nude under intense air conditioning, causing him to contract pneumonia."
Zapata Tamayo’s death will not be in vain. It will illuminate the path of Cuba’s civic resistance until the Cuban people achieve their freedom.