(Cubans Signing Condolence Book in Cuba on Feb 24, 2010)

We lost Orlando Zapata Tamayo, 42, on Tuesday. He was a Cuban political prisoner who died this week after an 85-day hunger strike to demand better prison conditions.

The serendipity and the soul of this blog continues… just like all the rappers from my doc come from East of Havana (a fearless and free-thinking area of Cuba that inspires me), I learned Zapata was born in Banes, Cuba — a city located 500 miles east of Havana. On Thursday, he was laid to rest in Banes, while all the islands activists, political thinkers, friends, and fans converged together to pay respects to one of the great voices of this struggle.

Zapata had been in prison since 2003 serving a sentence of at least 25 years for the crimes of disrespect, public disorder and resistance against the communist government of the Caribbean island, according to Amnesty International, which listed him as one of 58 “prisoners of conscience” in Cuba. (Source: Reuters).

His death is complicated and currently creating large ripples of awareness regarding Cuba’s prison conditions. Security is massively stepped up in Cuba this week for fear of outbreak. People are pisssssed.

At the same time, it creates a bit of a set back with US-Cuba relations. Read more here: Zapata death / Reuters.

Rest in peace Zapata. Your protest was heard worldwide.
J