Cuba's Democratic Youth: Imprisonment, Punishment,
Hunger Strike Mar International Youth Festival
HAVANA 23 July (New Press) In a Guantanamo City
prison, Democratic Youth Movement President Nestor Rodriguez
Lobaina declared that he will begin a hunger strike on July
28, opening day of the World Student/Youth Festival in
Havana hosted by the Cuban government. His hunger strike
will continue until the festival's closure on August 5.
According to a signed letter smuggled out of the
prison, Rodriguez stated that his hunger strike will be a
protest against the repression and political marginalization
to which several generations of Cuban youth have been
subjected since Castro seized power in 1959.
Rodriguez , who was imprisoned on April 10th after
co-authoring the Universities Without Borders declaration
[which seeks the restoration of the pre-communist autonomy
and political neutrality of Cuba's universities], said that
the hunger strike will be dedicated to the youth leaders who
have traditionally been the vanguard of resistance to
anti-democratic governments in Cuba, and who currently
suffer imprisonment for reasons of conscience.
Rodriguez stated furthermore that his protest will also
be dedicated to the hundreds of young people who have died
escaping from Cuba by sea; to the 22 children who were
killed on July 13, 1994, when their refugee-laden boat was
intentionally sunk by government gun boats; and to the four
young Brothers to the Rescue pilots whose unarmed civilian
craft was shot down by the Cuban Air Force over
In related events:
A municipal court in Palma Soriano, Santiago Province,
has levied a stiff fine against Democratic Youth Movement
Vice-president Heriberto Leyva Rodriguez, .
Leyva, who co-authored the Universities Without Borders
project with Nestor Rodriguez, was ordered to pay the State
1000 pesos, equivalent to several months' wages. Leyva was
accused of "disrespect to the Court" after
speaking out in a Santiago courtroom where the other
Vice-president of Democratic Youth, Radames Garcia de la
Vega, was being tried for political reasons.
Leyva uttered statements in support of Garcia, for
which the presiding judge charged him with violating the
of the political trial. Leyva's words generated daring
expressions of support from the public gathered in the
courtroom, who during and after the proceedings openly spoke
out against the Cuban government and in favor of the young
Radames Garcia today began serving an 18-month sentence
in a Santiago prison, charged with "disrespect towards
the President of the Cuban State", Fidel Castro.
Distributed by Cubanet