International News

Protests Staged in Cuba, Miami to Commemorate Hunger Striker Orlando Zapata Tamayo

Some 130 dissidents were arrested in Cuba, while several hundred demonstrators hit the streets of Miami to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the death of hunger striker Orlando Zapata Tamayo.

The arrests on the communist island included the reported harassment and roughing up of a dozen Ladies in White, mothers and daughters of political prisoners, who were accosted will walking to a church to say a rosary for the dead dissident.

Security forces gathered outside the houses of Cuban dissidents, including the home of Ladies in White leader Laura Pollan. Outside Pollan's home, a crowd of 300 organized by the government reportedly chanted, "Machete, they are few," and roughed up some of the ladies, according to El Nuevo Herald.

According to reports, 52 dissidents were arrested and 65 held under house arrest as the communist regime cracked down across the country to avert the possibility of massive protests.

But on an island where the internet is a luxury and social media all but non-existent, massive protests like those in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya -- which were organized using the latest communications technology -- never materialized.

In Miami, as well as in several other cities with large Cuban communities, supporters took to the streets, many carrying signs that read "Zapata Lives!" to commemorate the death of the 42-year-old Cuban bricklayer who died after an 82-day hunger strike that focused attention on human rights abuses on the totalitarian island.

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Jorge Casuso
Contact: Jorge Casuso