Orlando Zapata Tamayo's Mother Speaks After Her Son's Death

Apr 26, 2010 | Updated May 25, 2011

This afternoon, hours after the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, Reinaldo and I were able to approach the Department of Legal Medicine, where autopsies are performed, in Boyeros Street.

A cordon of men from State Security were watching the place, but we managed to approach Reina, the mother of the deceased, and ask her the questions in the recording posted here.

Pain, indignation in our case... sadness and fortitude in hers. Here is the recording, amateur and in very low light, but the heartbreaking testimony of an anguished mother.

English transcript of Yoani Sanchez video interview of Reina Tamayo, mother of Orlando Zapata Tamayo

Yoani Sanchez: We are here to express our condolences. We would like to know at what time did he pass away, what do you know about his last minutes, what are your feelings right now, and what is going to happen after he is released by the coroner?

Reina Luisa Tamayo Dangier: I am Reina Luisa Tamayo Dangier, the mother of prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo who was interned in the hospital of the Habana del Este Prison. Last night he was moved to the Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital where he passed away at 3:00 PM.

I can tell you I feel a horrible pain, but I am holding on, enduring through this pain. I was able to be at his side until he passed away and now hope to have the courage to dress my son Orlando Zapata Tamayo.

We will leave for Banes, Holguin Province, Embarcadero road, house number six, where we will hold the wake before our family altar, at my home, for as long as required.

I want to tell the world about my pain. I think my son's death was a premeditated murder. My son was tortured throughout his incarceration. His plight has brought me great pain and has been excruciating for the entire family. Even, as he was transferred to this prison, he was first held in Camaguey without drinking water for 18 days. My son dies after an 86-day hunger strike. He is another Pedro Boitel for Cuba. [Pedro Luis Boitel died in 1972 during a hunger strike while serving a 10-year prison sentence in Cuba]

In the midst of deep pain, I call on the world to demand the freedom of the other prisoners and brothers unfairly sentenced so that what happened to my boy, my second child, who leaves behind no physical legacy, no child or wife, does not happen again. Thank you!

Yoani's blog, Generation Y, can be read here in English translation.