Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"They let him go, but he was always free"


My favorite quote from the three-week saga following the arrest of Anotnio Rodiles comes from Cuban writer and blogger Enrique del Risco who commented upon Rodiles' release:

"They let him go, but he was always free."


For a breaking update on the Rodiles story, you can read this interview with him (English & Spanish) just published at Café Fuerte.

Ivette Leyva Martinez also has this summary at CafeFuerte.

Those many of us who publicly advocated for his release can be justly proud that in only a few days petitions from Amnesty International, Change.org, and many others caught fire and put pressure on the Cuban government to realize that they really had no case against Rodiles.  That is a citizen victory and quite unprecedented.


Of course, as Rodiles said in the interview he gave to Cafe Fuerte, much remains to be done.  There are still other, similar non-violent activists unjustly behind bars in Cuba.

I personally called Antonio at home on Monday night and spoke to him very briefly.  He told me that he gives thanks to all who have supported him and his family during these difficult days.  He also said that he will continue with his citizen activism in Estado de SATS to build a better, more inclusive Cuba.

He put it this way in the Cafe Fuerte interview:

CF: Will you continue Estado de Sats? What are your plans now?  
AR: The project of course will continue and I would say even more forecefully. The idea of the project Estado de Sats, of the campaign “For Another Cuba,” has to do with respect for the rights of Cubans, with respect for the human being first and foremost, with the opportunity to debate, to openly discuss, and I think that with this beating this was the main thing they showed me: this way is the way for Cuba to change, and clearly violence is the enemy. Now more than ever I believe that the work requires total dedication.

One very interesting outcome of his arrest is the legal complaint just filed by four independent Cuban lawyers against Cuban State Security.  You can read about that in Juan Tamayo's Herald story.

"Estado de SATS," the independent, non-violent, citizen-led project founded by Antonio continues to function.

Also, remember that the other reason behind the recent wave of repression is the "Citizen Demand for Another Cuba," which continues to exist and that you can read and add your signature to.

Finally, it is important to note that the Change.org FREE RODILES that I launched with a hand-full of friends received 4,567 signatures in just a few weeks, but that the "Demand" has only received 1,279 so far.

YOU can change this by adding your voice to it now.

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