The Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero made a series of critical remarks about the Cuban government last Thursday. The criticism was prompted by the death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata, a “prisoner of conscience. The Prime Minister of Spain urged the Cuban authorities to release as soon as possible all political prisoners serving their sentences in Cuban prisons. Speaking at the United Nations in Geneva, in the Hall of Human Rights, Zapatero spoke with great regret about the passing of forty-two-year-old Orlando Zapata. The Prime Minister of Spain stressed that the best way out for nations that want to protect and take care of their citizens is the rapid and immediate abolition of the death penalty.
The head of the Spanish government, the country currently presiding over the European Union, has very clearly and forcefully demanded in his speech that the Cuban regime must not only respect human rights, but must also grant total freedom to all prisoners of conscience. Zapatero stressed that anyone with common sense can imagine the suffering endured by political prisoners in Cuba. Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a Cuban political prisoner, died in prison on the eighty-fifth day of his hunger strike to protest the truly horrific prison conditions in Cuba. Zapata’s death was the first and perhaps the most notable death of a political prisoner in Cuba in forty years.