Wilman Villar Mendoza: “We Cannot Allow Another Orlando Zapata Tamayo”

Wilman Villar Mendoza is an activist of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) who was arrested alongside other dissidents of that same pro-democracy organization on November 14th in Contramaestre, Santiago de Cuba, as they carried out a peaceful demonstration against the Cuban dictatorship.  According to declarations made by former prisoner of conscience Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia to ‘CubaEncuentro‘, the arrest occurred while the activists imparted a public conference about the violence against Ladies in White and other opposition members.  On November 25th, Wilman Mendoza decided to begin a hunger strike, protesting his unjust incarceration and demanding his immediate freedom.  Now, the political prisoner is very grave and in danger of losing his life at any moment.

From the beginning of his imprisonment, relatives of Wilman, along with numerous dissidents, have protested outside the Aguadores Prison, where the activist was arbitrarily detained.  Forces of the Castro dictatorship responded each and every time with violence, lashing out against friends and relatives of the dissident who had chosen to demonstrate their solidarity.  On December 23rd, 8 Ladies in White and one activist from the UNPACU were detained when they protested outside the prison.  Among the demonstrators was the wife of Mendoza, Mariza Pelegrino Cabrales, who had taken her two young daughters with her.

During the night of January 14th 2012, it was reported that Wilman Villar Mendoza had been urgently taken to the Juan Bruno Zayas Hospital of Santiago de Cuba.  There, state doctors told relatives that the activist would soon die.  (Jose Daniel Ferrer made audio declarations to ‘Hablalo sin Miedo’ regarding this).

Radio Marti spoke with Mendoza’s wife, and published this audio.  In it, Mariza Pelegrino affirms that her husband, although unconscious and with pneumonia, had clung tight to his choice of demanding freedom.  “Either dead, or in freedom“, Pelegrino echoed.  Mendoza has been refused adequate medical assistance on numerous occasions during his imprisonment, in addition to the authorities ignoring his demands.

Also through ‘Hablalo sin Miedo’, various dissidents published an urgent message, asking for solidarity with the serious case of Wilman Villar Mendoza.  “We cannot allow another Orlando Zapata Tamayo“, said the deeply concerned activists who know Wilman personally, as they referenced another victim of the Castro regime- Zapata Tamayo, who died after a lengthy hugner strike  and beat down during an unjust prison sentence.  Meanwhile, Ladies in White in Santiago de Cuba assured that they would pray for the soul, and recuperation, of Mendoza when they assist their Sunday mass, while 18 other Ladies in White were beaten and detained as they were on their way to join Mariza Pelegrino in solidarity at the Juan Zayas Hospital.

At this very moment, January 15th 2012, the Castro dictatorship is committing another horrible crime against the Cuban people.  We cannot remain silent.

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