Cuban leader Fidel Castro ranted against the foreign press for reporting on the Jan. 19th death of political prisoner William Villar who had been on a hunger strike while in a prison in Santiago de Cuba, according to the newspaper Diario de Cuba.
The official Cuban newspaper Granma and the official Cuban website Debate reported that he was treated like any other inmate and that he died from natural causes, rejecting claims that he was a political prisoner and that he was on a hunger strike. “A journalist at Granma, Juventud Rebelde, radio news, or whatever other revolutionary outlet can be mistaken on any given topic, but theynever would fabricate a news story or invent a lie,” Castro said in his column Reflexiones.
The Cuban government has said that Villar was incarcerated due to a domestic violence incident, something that his widow has denied. She claims that her late husband was a member of the opposition group Unión Patriótica de Cuba, a claim that is backed by the Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez.
In related news, a Cuban journalist based in Miami denounced threats he received from Cuban exiles afterpublishing a story on the economic difficulties faced by the exiled mother of another deceased Cuban political prisoner that died in 2010 after a long hunger strike, according to the official Cuban agency Prensa Latina. The journalist that denounced the threats, Miguel Fernández, is allied with the Cuban regime and is a contributor to the site La Pupila Insomne.