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Whose Interests Are Some Canadian Media Serving with Lies about Cuba? 

by Isaac Saney

The Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC) denounces the slanderous attack on Cuba that is being carried by some media on the occasion of the death of one Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a common criminal in prison in Cuba who recently died as a result of a hunger strike. Without any evidence or foundation, the media asserts that Orlando Zapata Tamayo was "murdered by the Cuban government."

Not once does the media so much as inquire who this man was or why he died, let alone what role the Cuban government might have played in this affair, to say nothing about why this has made headlines in the first place.

Orlando Zapata Tamayo was in fact a habitual common criminal. Since 1988 he was convicted of several crimes, including assault, fraud and possession of a dangerous weapon. In 2000 he assaulted Leonardo Simón with a machete, fracturing Simón's skull. Despite this record of criminality and violence, and despite the fact that his name was not even included on the now defunct United Nations Human Rights Commission's 2003 list of so-called political prisoners in Cuba, certain U.S. media all of a sudden declared Orlando Zapata Tamayo a political prisoner and certain Canadian media are following suite. They are crying crocodile tears for a man whose rights the Cuban government allegedly violated by refusing to give him a private phone, stove and television in his prison cell, thus forcing him to wage an 85-day hunger strike to the death.

What did the Cuban government do? 

Zapata was treated by highly-qualified specialists in Cuban hospitals. Other specialists were also consulted. Eventually he was fed intravenously and through a nasal tube. Zapata and his family were consistently warned by the Cuban medical specialists of the dangers to his life should he persist on his chosen path. Maria Ester Hernandez, one of the specialists who treated Zapata, declared: "We explained to him the consequences of his decision at every turn and how much he was endangering his life with this. But he kept it up." The director of the National Hospital for Prisoners, Dr Dailé Burgos, stated that Tamayo was “treated with state-of–the-art drugs. The patient turned down food. His proteins, carbohydrates and fat were used up, thus he wasted away, making recovery difficult." In the end before he died Zapata was placed on an artificial respirator.

In short, every effort was made to avail Zapata of the resources of the Cuban medical system, which did its utmost to preserve his life. 

Hardly acts of neglect or malfeasance!! Why then are Canadian media telling lies about this case? Why don't they explain whose interests it serves to tell such lies? 

On behalf of the Canadian Network On Cuba,

Isaac Saney
Co-Chair & National Spokesperson


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