Jose Gabriel Ramon Castillo

José Gabriel Ramón Castillo was a Cuban human rights activist. He worked at the University of the Orient, from which he was expelled in 1993 after founding the first human rights organization in the Eastern region of the island. He was arrested and tortured in the 1990s but kept fighting for democracy and human rights in Cuba after his release. He was arrested again in 2003 as part of the ‘Group of 75’ of political prisoners. Like its other members, he was forced into exile, first in Spain and later in the United States.

He died in 2018 from cirrhosis. People close to him argue that the circumstances of his death were suspicious, and his sister explained that he didn’t use to drink alcohol at all, which has led to a theory about a possible inoculation of the virus during his time in prison. This wouldn’t be the only case of a Cuban prisoner of conscience developing a chronic disease after release from jail: other members of the Group of 75 have also died in such circumstances.