SPEECH OF HON. LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART
OF FLORIDA, IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2005
Mr. LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a political prisoner in totalitarian Cuba.
Mr. Zapata Tamayo is a member of the Alternative Republican Movement as well as a member of the National Civic Resistance Committee. Because of his belief in freedom and democracy, Mr. Zapata Tamayo has been a constant target of the tyrant's machinery of repression. According to Amnesty International, he was detained and harassed by the dictatorship's thugs on July 3, 2002 and October 28, 2002. In November 2002, after taking part in a workshop on human rights in the central Havana park, he and eight other dictatorship opponents were arrested again. He was also arrested and thrown into the totalitarian gulag in December 2002.
Mr. Zapata Tamayo, knowing full well the heinous repression that awaited him if he continued to advocate for freedom for the people of Cuba, never wavered in his convictions. Unfortunately, on May 20, 2003, he was arrested again for taking part in a hunger strike to demand the release of Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet. According to Information Bridge Cuba-Miami, in a sham trial, Mr. Zapata Tamayo was sentenced to 3 years in the totalitarian gulag for the supposed crimes of ``public disorder, disobedience and resisting authority.''
Brave men and women like Mr. Zapata Tamayo represent the best of mankind. He and other pro-democracy activists languish in abhorrent dungeons, defy the dictator's machinery of repression and, despite every threat and obstacle, relentlessly demand liberty for the people of Cuba. Because of their unwavering dedication and the hard work and commitment of countless other patriots, Cuba will be free again.
Mr. Speaker, it is categorically unacceptable that, while the world stands by in silence and acquiescence, Mr. Zapata Tamayo languishes in a grotesque gulag because of his belief in freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. We cannot permit the brutal treatment by a demented and murderous tyrant of a man like Mr. Zapato Tamayo for simply supporting freedom for his people. My colleagues, we must demand the immediate and unconditional release of Orlando Zapato Tamayo and every political prisoner in totalitarian Cuba.
Received from Jordan Paul, Legislative Director
Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart