The first photo shows what human solidarity is all about. At the home of Caridad Caballero Batista, in 2008. That night we slept in an overcrowded space waiting for the next day to demonstrate our support for Orlando Zapata Tamayo, at the doors of Holguin Prison where we learned that he was firmly demanding respect for human dignity. But, at dawn of that day the prison guards yielded to the demands of the “Negro”* Zapata, Alfredo Dominguez Batista, Pavel Mansfarrol, and Juan C. Herrera Acosta.
There we stayed with Reina Luisa, Zapata’s mother.
The second photo we spent the night the best we could at the home of Reina Maria Ortiz Tamayo, daughter of Reina Luisa. This time was in Camaguey province, February 2010. We waited until dawn to go to the Hospital Amalia Simoni where Orlando Zapata was already admitted and in serious condition. Zapata had started a hunger strike two months earlier asking to be respected in his status of political prisoner
The third photo shows when we got out in the streets in Camaguey. We marched as a protest. We told everyone that “Negro” Zapata could die if he did not get immediate medical attention. The political prisoners were beaten, lock-ups, threats, insults. There we stayed with Reina Luisa. But this time the regime’s goons of the G-2, the political repressive police, in Camaguey did not yield. They did not alert the medical personal that Zapata’s hope for living was about to end. They took him to Havana in an ambulance surrounded by military personnel. Next day, Reina left for Havana once she was able to get a ride in a car.
In Havana, at the prisoners’ ward in the Hospital Ameijeiras at the Combinado del Este Prison, Zapata died few days later. This time we could not be with Reina Luisa , nor with our brother Orlando Zapata Tamayo, OZT.
El Negro Zapata: This term is used as a friendly word towards a person of color, in Cuba, with the same meaning as “pal.”
Translated by Len