Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. – Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham jail, April 16, 1963
The Free Cuba Foundation is calling on all people of good will to initiate a 24-hour fast on February 23 at 3:00pm that coincides with the time that prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo died one year earlier after 83 days on a hunger strike in defense of dignity and human rights in Cuba. Prison officials denied him water for several days contributing to his death.
A fast is not a hunger strike. Mohandas Gandhi observed that "A complete fast is a complete and literal denial of self. It is the truest prayer." For example last year following the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a group of Cuban prisoners of conscience organized days of fasting and Bible readings and called for all people of good will to join them in the effort. Most of the participants in that fast are now exiled in Spain although two of them, Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet and Ángel Moya Acosta remain imprisoned in Cuba. They are part of a group of eleven prisoners of conscience that have refused forced exile and remain in prison.
We are asking you to join us in fasting and praying for Orlando Zapata Tamayo who died 1 year ago on February 23, 2010 and for Carlos Costa, Pablo Morales, Mario De La Peña and Armando Alejandre Jr. extrajudicially executed 15 years ago on February 24, 1996.
The fast will be completed on February 24 and will coincide with the 15 year anniversary of the of the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down. The Free Cuba Foundation is calling on all people of goodwill to organize vigils and moments of silence between the times when both Brothers to the Rescue planes were shot down at 3:21pm and 3:27pm.
Our aim is not arouse hatred or revenge but to remember and demand justice. We share Mohandas Gandhi's conviction that: "To forgive is not to forget. The merit lies in loving in spite of the vivid knowledge that the one that must be loved is not a friend. There is no merit in loving an enemy when you forget him for a friend."
Those responsible for the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo and the deaths of Carlos Costa, Pablo Morales, Mario De La Peña and Armando Alejandre need to be held accountable. The Roman philosopher and statesmen Marcus Tullius Cicero uttered a profound truth when he observed that "[t]he hope of impunity is the greatest inducement to do wrong." To ensure that the crimes committed against the above mentioned persons are not repeated those responsible need to be identified and held accountable.
It is for that reason that the Free Cuba Foundation is circulating a petition requesting that the Cuban spies involved in the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down serve out their sentences and not be pardoned. There is an effort underway to have the current U.S. Administration pardon them. Furthermore, that those who gave the orders and are still at large be placed on an Interpol watch list.
We'd also like to encourage all people of good will to write letters to the editor, opinion pieces, blog entries, organize showings of documentaries, and remind people about these injustices.
Our call to action has three components:
1. Sign petition
2. Fast for 24 hours beginning on February 23 at 3:00pm the time Orlando Zapata Tamayo died.
3. Hold a silent vigil for Carlos Costa, Pablo Morales, Mario De La Peña and Armando Alejandre Jr.on February 24 between 3:21pm and 3:28pm the times the two Brothers to the Rescue planes were shot down killing the four men.