If we begin counting from 1959, the victims of the Castro dictatorship in Cuba are innumerable. Today, January 19th, another name is added to the list of innocent- but very brave- Cubans who have lost their lives while struggling to achieve freedom for the entire island. Wilman Villar Mendoza.
The dissident was only 31 years old. He died around 6 pm in the Juan Bruno Zayas Hospital of Santiago de Cuba after carrying out a hunger strike which lasted more than 50 days. I have heard various people say that a hunger strike is a form of suicide, but I do not believe that. The only one at fault for his death is the dictatorship. It was that same dictatorship which arrested Mendoza during November of 2011 when he, along with other activists, peacefully marched down the streets of Contramaestre demanding freedom. And it was that same dictatorship which paid no attention to Wilman’s just demands to be liberated, which led to his hunger strike. No, it is not suicide. It is an assassination.
I did not know Wilman Villar Mendoza personally, but when a person puts their own life at risk for the well being of others, and in this case, for the freedom of an entire nation, then that says a lot about a person. The young Cuban, who leaves behind a wife and two young children, joins the list of so many executed, tortured, and beaten men and women, and also of many who have lost their lives on hunger strike as well. He is another Orlando Zapata Tamayo, another Pedro Luis Boitel- two Cubans who, although living in different generations, fought for the same exact cause and died the same way, in horrid conditions but with honor.
We cannot forget Wilman. In fact, his example- like the example of Boitel, Zapata, Soto Garcia and Laura Pollan- will give us more strength to keep fighting for a free Cuba from wherever we are.
And let us not forget his family. His wife has not even been able to see his body as of Thursday night. And we must keep a close watch on the news coming from the island, for the regime always responds with violence against dissidents after publishing news such as this.
We cannot allow even one more. Wilman Mendoza LIVES!