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Political Prisoner

July 25, 1988

The story of Alberto Fibla is another bead in the long and tortuous rosary of abuses perpetrated by Fidel Castro since his rise to power, almost 30 years ago ("Cuban Political Prisoner: 'But I Have Not Lost My Honor,' " Part I, July 17).

So many suffered for years while the world seemed determined to look the other way. Even those who worked privately for the cause of human rights by writing letters, trying to make people aware, received much skepticism as if we belonged to some kind of ultra-right-wing-conservative organization: Human rights abuses were conceived in El Salvador, Chile or Guatemala, but never in Cuba.

In their seven-year struggle against Fulgencio Batista, most Cubans looked for an end to the corruption and a return to democracy. The country had progressed economically since the end of World War II (a fact that the Havana regime has tried to obscure and deny) and Castro, once a political prisoner himself, had promised free elections in 18 months, as well as all kinds of democratic reforms.

But, a different fate awaited the joyful Caribbean island. Little by little the new class took over. Writers, artists, office workers, teachers all began to fall under the incipient regime, ready to sweep and bury any kind of opposition. A newer and more horrendous nightmare had begun.

If still in doubt, see "Nobody Listened," the documentary by Academy Award winner Nestor Almendros recently shown at the American Film Institute festival.

Alberto Fibla's life is a tribute to those men and women all over the world, from South Africa to Nicaragua, who, rather than succumb to the cruelties of false prophets, prefer to live with honor, free at heart and in the spirit. After all, honor is the strength of the human soul, nurtured in the inalienable right that every human being is born free.


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