Cuba Ordered to Pay $27.5 Million for Jailing Dissident Journalist

Cuban dissident journalist Omar Rodriguez Saludes was arrested in 2003 and sentenced to 27 years in prison simply for telling the truth. Today a U.S. federal judge ordered the government and communist party of Cuba to pay $27.5 million to Rodriguez Saludes's mother.   

"During his imprisonment, he has been beaten, starved, given poor food, placed in solitary confinement, and deprived of medical treatment... I have no doubt that the acts of the Cuban government are intended to oppress those in Cuba who seek to freely voice their opinions," wrote U.S. District Judge Alan S. Gold in his ruling.

Rodriguez Saludes was director of independent news agency Nueva Prensa Cubana. As a journalist, he chronicled political opression on the communist island.

He was arrested along with 20 other journalists in 2003 during a crackdown on dissident journalists.

''They warn me that I could be jailed, that I should think of my family. But I am convinced it is my duty to inform and be informed," Rodriguez Saludes told the New York Times just months before he was jailed.

Of course, like many other recent rulings against the Castros and Cuba made in U.S. courts, collecting the money might be an uphill battle. 

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Kyle Munzenrieder