Monday, November 29, 2010

"Freedom by the Pound"

From Babalu blog:

On July 28th, 2010, Ariel Sigler Amaya arrived in Miami weighing a mere 116 pounds. Looking like a holocaust victim, Ariel was a paraplegic and on the brink of death after spending 7 years in a Castro prison for opposing the dictatorial regime. Along with his two brothers Miguel and Guido, Ariel was part of 75 peaceful democracy activists, independent journalists and librarians arrested by the Castro dictatorship during the Black Spring of 2003 and sentenced to long prison terms.

Along with the other prisoners of conscience languishing behind bars in Castro's prisons, Ariel -- an athlete and a heavyweight boxer weighing 220 pounds -- suffered unspeakable acts of humiliation and torture both physically and mentally. During his last two years incarcerated, Ariel's body began to succumb to the daily torture of prison, and as he became sicker and sicker, his weight began to drop and he eventually became a paraplegic. However, though the regime had managed to break Ariel's body, they were never able to break his spirit.

Freedom has an amazing therapeutic effect on a man, and with Ariel's warrior spirit still intact it was only a matter of time before his body would begin to recover. For more than three months Ariel has been training harder than he ever trained before as a champion boxer, and what seemed unthinkable a short 3 months ago, Ariel's spirit, determination, and a heavy dose of freedom has made the impossible, possible. Ariel's health and body has progressed so much that even his doctors have been left amazed.

The following is a short film George and I shot of Ariel a couple of weeks ago during one of his workouts at his home. We had the good fortune that his doctor, Dr. Orlando Rodriguez, was visiting him at the time and we were able to film his thoughts on Ariel's progress.

In this film you will be able to see just how far Ariel has come in such a short period of time, and it is a testament not only to his courage and will, but also to the wonders of freedom. Ariel has gained 30 pounds since arriving in freedom, and his doctor tells us he may be standing and taking a few steps before the year is over. Nothing strikes more fear into the Castro dictatorship than witnessing the power of freedom, and one can say that Ariel Sigler Amaya's miraculous recovery can be measured as freedom by the pound.

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