Cuban Activist Antúnez Visits the Martís

MIAMI- Jorge Luis García-Pérez, a human rights activist some have called “Cuba’s Nelson Mandela,” visited the Martís on August 13 to express his gratitude for the reliable and accurate news coverage the Miami broadcaster provides. García-Pérez, who is also known as Antúnez, is well known across Cuba for his peaceful protest of the Castro government. He was a political prisoner from 1990 to 2007.

Antúnez addresses the staff of the Martís

Antúnez addresses the staff of the Martís

“In the 17 years that I spent behind bars, Radio Martí was, at times, my ‘everything’. It was my lifeline,” Antúnez told the assembled staff and journalists. “I would listen to it on a small radio that was smuggled into my cell.”

During his visit, Antúnez met with Office of Cuba Broadcasting Director Carlos García-Pérez and made guest appearances on Radio Martí’s daily newscast as well as the daily magazine show Cuba al Dia (Cuba Daily). During his interview with Thomas Cardoso, Antúnez raised the issue of an “institutional racial divide” in Cuba, emphasizing that the majority of inmates inside Cuban jails are black because, he says, the Cuban government targets people of color.

Antúnez was arrested during a nonviolent demonstration in 1990. Today Antúnez heads one of the largest opposition groups on the island, “Frente Civico de la Resistencia Orlando Zapata Tamayo,” (TheCivicResistance Front of OrlandoZapataTamayo). Since his release in 2007 Antúnez has lived under intense government surveillance and has been harassed and beaten by government agents.

After outbound travel restrictions were lifted in Cuba earlier this year, many dissidents, including Yoani Sánchez, Antonio Rodiles, Rosa Maria Payá and Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, have visited Martí headquarters to thank the staff and leadership for their support of a free media on the island.

Antúnez plans to travel throughout the United States raising awareness of Cuba’s human rights situation.

The Martís are operated by the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, part of the independent U.S. government agency, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).

For more information on Radio and TV Martí, please contact Gina Barroso at 305-437-7153 or via email at gbarroso@bbg.gov.

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