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Freed paraplegic dissident vows 'freedom, democracy' for Cuba


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May 13, 2010
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Freed paraplegic dissident vows 'freedom, democracy' for Cuba
AFP: Freed paraplegic dissident vows 'freedom, democracy' for Cuba

By Rigoberto Diaz and Isabel Sanchez (AFP)
June 12, 2010

Ariel Sigler shows his emaciated body upon his release from prison

MATANZAS, Cuba — A frail, paraplegic political prisoner freed after landmark talks between the Catholic Church and President Raul Castro vowed Saturday to push hard to win "freedom and democracy" for Cuba.

Ariel Sigler Amaya, 46, had been in prison for more than six years. He was part of a group of 73 political dissidents picked up in a broad crackdown by the communist government in March 2003.
"The story does not end here. We are going to press on in the struggle, until the last political prisoner has been freed, until we achieve freedom and democracy for the Cuban people," Sigler Amaya, frail and seated in a wheelchair he began using two years ago, told AFP.

Sigler Amaya, who heads the Independent Alternative Option Movement (MIOA) -- an outlawed political group in the western province of Matanzas -- has faced a series of chronic illnesses and has been in a wheelchair since September 2008.

Surrounded by elated relatives, Sigler Amaya said he was released thanks to pressure from the international community, and not the will of the Americas' only one-party communist regime.
Ariel Sigler is one of the dissidents arrested during the “Black Spring” in 2003 and sentenced to 20 years. Before going to prison he was a strong man in excellent health, more than 6 feet tall and weighing over 200 pounds. He was a sportsman, regional amateur boxing champion, and physical education teacher who was expelled from his job because his vocal criticism of the regime.

During his 7 years imprisonment his health deteriorated due to a series of illness he didn’t suffered before going to prison. No doubt this is due to a combination of induced illness planned by State Security and the regime medical negligent to get rid of its opponent. Ariel Sigler in these photos looks like the Jews in the Nazi concentration camps of 1945, nothing but skin and bones after losing 100 ounds. The day is not far away that Castro and his band of thugs will have to pay for it. Uncommon Sense: Look at what 7 years in jail did to Ariel Sigler Amaya.
Fidel Castro reflection June on the state media made this anti Semitic remark: "The hatred of the State of Israel against the Palestinians is such that they wouldn't hesitate sending a million-and-a-half men, women and children from that country to the crematoriums in which the Nazis exterminated millions of Jews of all ages…The swastika seems to be today's new Israeli flag." (Castro: Swastika has become Israel's banner - Israel News, Ynetnews).

In 2002 Steven Spielberg visited Cuba and met with Fidel Castro during 8 hours. He said of that meeting was “the eight most important hours of my life.” I wonder what will be Spielberg reaction after Fidel anti Semitic remark. Does he will change his mind? I hope so; he is a talented filmmaker and honest man. He could make a movie like "Schindler's List" exposing the Castro’s gulag.
News of the death of hunger striker Orlando Zapata Tamayo, thanks to the internet, when in jail under the care of the Castro brothers’ dictatorship, has reached all corners of the world and brought lots of criticism on the brothers’ regime. There is an online letter to demand the immediate release of all political prisoners, and with each new signer of the letter the world comes closer to achieving the end of oppression by the Castros regime. There are nearly 50,000 signers of the letter. The letter is located at: Orlando Zapata Tamayo: Carta
On November 16, 1996 Ariel Sigler founded the Independent Alternative Option Movement. He led his brothers and scores of other youths into the sugar fields and the countryside, organizing workers to defend their rights against the State as the sole employer, carrying out peaceful public demonstrations, setting up soup kitchens for the poor and hungry who supposedly do not exist under a "people’s dictatorship," and establishing an independent library in their family home where books censored by the government could be accessed by the population. Amnesty International has recognized Ariel as a prisoner of conscience.
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