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Sunday, February 28, 2010

February 24, 2010 Silent Vigil for Orlando Zapata Tamayo & Brothers to the Rescue shootdown victims

Orlando Zapata Tamayo

Orlando Zapata Tamayo, Cuban dissident and Amnesty International prisoner of conscience died in Havana, Cuba on February 23, 2010 at the age of 42 after more than eighty days on a water only hunger strike. During the hunger strike prison officials denied him water for more than two weeks in an effort to force him to end the strike. They failed in breaking his spirit but suceeded in being a contributing factor to his death.


Fourteen years ago over the Florida Straits a brutal crime was committed by Cuban government against civilians aboard three planes who were hunted by Cuban MiGs and in the case of two of the planes were blown to bits by air-to-air missiles fired by a Cuban MiG-29 at 3:21 p.m. and 3:27 p.m., respectively, in international airspace destroying two civilian light aircraft extra-judicially killing Armando Alejandre Jr. (age 45), Carlos Alberto Costa ( age 29), Mario Manuel de la Peña (age 24), and Pablo Morales (age 29). 

One day after the death on hunger strike of Orlando and fourteen years after the Brothers to the Rescue shootdown that killed Armando, Carlos, Mario, and Pablo the Free Cuba Foundation organized and held a silent vigil for all of them with relatives of the four killed in 1996.

For the past 14 years the vigil has been silent. On this occasion in honor of Orlando Zapata Tamayo the mother of  Mario Manuel de la Peña, Miriam spoke at the beginning of the vigil:

The vigil began at 3:21pm the time when the first plane was shotdown in 1996:

The vigil ended at 3:27pm the time when the second planes was shotdown in 1996:

At the end of the vigil Miriam de la Peña was interviewed by local media:

In English:

In Spanish:

Free Cuba Foundation (FCF) president Julio Menache presided over the vigil along with FCF member Kristan Patton

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