Open letter to the Rector of La Universitat Rovira i Virgili of Tarragona, Catalonia

From Miguel Galban Gutiérrez

Excellent Sir Francesc Xavier Grau i Vidal, rector of the URV

The person appealing to you is Miguel Galban Gutiérrez, a former prisoner of conscience arrested in Cuba during the Black Spring, sentenced to 26 years imprisonment for trying to spread the word to the world about the true reality on the island, and exiled recently to Spain after having suffered the brutality of Castro’s prison system for more than seven and a half years.

I find myself feeling sadness and outrage over the presence in the Auditorium to deliver a lecture, this coming February 23, of Dr. Aleida Guevara, one of the daughters of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, one of the most diabolical people born in Latin America, a murderer who caused hundreds of deaths in Cuba.

For over 50 years my country has lived under a brutal dictatorship that has deprived its citizens of all the rights enjoyed by any person in a democratic society. Indeed, on February 23 we Cubans honor the memory of the defender of Human Rights and martyr Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who was murdered one year ago by the government of the Castro brothers when he undertook a hunger strike to demand better living conditions in prison where he was serving an unjust sentence.

This date will also be honored in much of the world by governments and democratic institutions, international organizations that defend Human Rights, and people of goodwill who feel the pain of my own people.

The message that this spokeswoman for the Cuban regime intends to propagate is contrary to the principles that should prevail in a free and democratic society, in the center that you preside over, and that are represented by the government of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia.

It is incomprehensible that in an academic institution where new generations of professionals are trained, you would receive, on this date, a representative of a government sanctioned and condemned by world organizations for flagrantly and systematically violating international conventions on Human Rights.

It is time for all civilized people who yearn for freedom and democracy for the entire world to join us in the struggle to achieve them in my country and to put an end to displays of courtesy to the regime in Havana.

Sincerely, with great respect and appreciation for your support,

Miguel Galban Gutiérrez



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