There are reports out there claiming that Tony is on the hunger strike (see my last post). Aside from the MCL newsletter, Osvaldo Payá's blog is reporting it as well.
- Radio Martí interview with Payá on the subject
- Detailed alert in English
- Brief alert in both English and Spanish
Confinement with the common criminal population is nothing new. While this practice opens a new chapter in the long and sad history of political prisoners in Castro's Cuba, it is not a new development in Tony's case. He has always been mingled with common criminals and, to date, has not suffered any physical abuse as a consequence. While he is very much concerned that some of his cell mates are in the pay of the security services (and are probably reporting his every move), he has not been physically harmed by them in any way. Of course, this is all subject to change at a moment's notice, but there is no immediate reason for concern.
As time elapses, Tony has grown more irritable and both Gisela and my mother fear that his confinement is beginning to impair his judgment and blunt his jovial personality. I will attempt to speak with him on Monday to lift his deflated spirits. Not being in his shoes, I have no idea what is going through this mind, but I can imagine that the feeling of despair can be overwhelming.
On the advocacy front, Gisela continues to petition the Cuban government. She wrote a letter to the Minister of the Interior to plea for conditional release and/or transfer to adequate medical facilities. It has been over 60 days since she delivered the letter and has received no reply. Gisela has also reached out to the Spanish Consulate. While the Spanish seem to be willing to help, they require documentation to back up their discussions with the Cuban government. Unfortunately, Tony's lawyer is basically unreachable. Every time Gisela contacts him, he claims to be in court (through his secretary). In light of his courageous performance during Tony's trial, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and must assume that he is being coerced by the authorities to misrepresent Tony (which is basically what unresponsiveness amounts to in this case). As I have stated earlier, this type of behavior would get him reprimanded in the States (if not disbarred). The Consulate is aware of Gisela's difficulties with the paperwork and is still willing to work with her.
That's all I have for now.
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