According to a report published on Sept. 27, Victor Rolando Arroyo, an
independent Cuban librarian serving a long prison sentence, is near death due to a
prolonged hunger strike. Arroyo is the director of the Reyes Magos Library in
Pinar del Rio Province and an independent journalist. He is serving a lengthy
prison term following the Cuban crackdown on dissidents in March 2003. Victor
Rolando Arroyo is on a hunger strike to protest harsh prison conditions. He has
been declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International; the European
Union, the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders
have recently issued appeals on his behalf.
Last week Victor's wife, Elsa Gonzalez Padron, was allowed to see him for two
minutes in the prison hospital. She found him to be delerious, but he did
finally recognize her and said: "It's going forward; there is no turning back
until they recognize my rights." When Elsa Gonzalez Padron asked to have her
husband transferred to a hospital room, a prison doctor reportedly told her: "If
he wants to die, let him die."
The Friends of Cuban Libraries are appealing to librarians around the world
to take action to save the life of Victor Rolando Arroyo. We respectfully urge
you to send appeals about Victor Rolando Arroyo to Mr. Felipe Perez Roque, the
Cuban Minister of Foreign Relations. Please ask him to ensure that physicians
will intervene to save Victor's life. The Cuban government is sensitive to
international publicity, so your humanitarian appeal could make the difference
between life or death.
E-mail messages to Mr. Perez Roque can be sent to:
([log in to unmask]). His fax number (calling from the U.S.) is: (011-53-733-3085).
The Friends of Cuban Libraries