Press Statement
Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
February 23, 2011

Today marks one year since the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a Cuban political prisoner who died following an eleven-week hunger strike calling for the release of his fellow political prisoners in Cuba. He was a courageous humanitarian who died defending a universal human right -- freedom of expression. We also deplore the continued intimidation and harassment by the Cuban government of activists and their family members, including Zapata’s mother Reina Luisa Tamayo, who are working to promote human rights on the island.

We join with both the international and Cuban community in urging the Cuban government to immediately and unconditionally release all remaining political prisoners, not just those arrested in the Black Spring Crackdown of 2003. Mr. Orlando Zapata Tamayo’s death highlights the injustice of Cuba's detention of political prisoners who should now be released without delay. We look forward to the day when all Cuban citizens can freely determine their future and express their thoughts and opinions in their country without fear of detention or unjust imprisonment.

PRN: 2011/264