Armando Sosa Fortuny, “Sosita” as he is affectionately called by his friends in the struggle, is an old man in prison, being 70 years old, and has been condemned to death, if we take into account his 30-year sentence. He suffers from chronic diabetes and cardiovascular problems.
Almost no one in Cuba speaks about this situation, and to top it off, his name is not on the famous list of the 26 most ill political prisoners compiled by the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation led by Mr. Elizardo Sánchez Santacruz. Furthermore, important groups and organizations in Cuba who claim to represent Cuban civil society, and even the forum of the Alternative Parliament, have not made any pronouncement about him.
As I write these lines, I try in vain to recall some internal opposition organization asking the democratic authorities who visit the country to secure his release.
It seems that the fact of not being one of Amnesty International’s seventy-odd prisoners of conscience conspires against the recognition of this courageous Cuban patriot, a comrade of Pedro Luis Boitel and Roberto Martin Perez in hunger strikes, beatings, punishment cells and forced labor during his long and difficult plantado* political imprisonment.
Sosa Fortuny had left political imprisonment in 1979 after serving 17 years as a plantado. He went into exile, and returned in 1994 to join the struggle for the freedom of his country, having recourse to the strategy he still believed in at that time: armed struggle. As soon as he stepped onto the Cuban coast he was again arrested and sentenced to 30 years in prison, which he is serving with the same or more resolve, as he did his previous sentence.
I cannot understand the reason for this unjust insensitivity against someone who more than once risked his life for the freedom of the homeland.
It is painful for me me when I hear and see the campaigns conducted on behalf of Cuban political prisoners, out of concern for the state of their health: not just for “Sosita” but for other sexagenarians like Cecilio Reinoso Sanchez, Miguel Díaz Bauzá, and José Benito Menéndez del Valle, those whose age and conditions of captivity are synonymous with infirmity. Or also the cases of Rafael Ibarra Roque, Alejandro García Farah, Alexander García Lima – their names are conspicuously absent from lists and campaigns for release, even though those who put them together had prior knowledge of their situation due to the many years they have been imprisoned. Or the cases of Juan Luís Rodríguez Desdín and Ernesto Mederos Arozarena; these last two are prisoners of conscience involved in absurd ordinary criminal proceedings in retaliation for their democratic activism.
When I write of this situation my admiration and sympathy for exceptional men like Librado Linares García, Diosdado González Marrero and Normando Hernández González cannot but increase, whose membership of a prestigious group of prisoners does not deter them in the least from doing everything in their power to respect, recognize, and equally support each and every one of the political prisoners in Cuba without regard to absurd categorizations or selective criteria.
Although I admire the important work of monitoring of political prisoners and their situations that Cuba-based organizations do, I would be remiss in my honesty and above all in the respect I feel for the brothers I left behind bars if I were not to categorize the message that some organizations send abroad from Cuba on such a sacred and serious subject as political prisoners as elitist, discriminatory and selective.
José Marti said ” Truth is meant to be told, not obscured, and it will set you free.” That is why I put mine forward here; to omit it would be to betray not only to my imprisoned brothers, but myself.
* “Plantado” describes uncompromising prisoners, unwilling to accept the terms or deals of their jailers.
Translated by: Tomás A.