Saturday, August 06, 2016

Cuban dissident briefly hospitalized, hunger strike in third week

Cuban dissident briefly hospitalized, hunger strike in third week
Posted 06 Aug 2016 07:00

HAVANA: Veteran Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas was briefly
hospitalized in Santa Clara on Friday after losing consciousness in his
home on the 16th day of a hunger strike to protest government
repression, his opposition organisation said.

This was the second time the 54-year-old Farinas, who has staged more
than 20 similar actions over the years, was rushed to receive medical
attention and intravenous liquids since starting the hunger strike after
what he said was a beating by police in his home city of Santa Clara in
central Cuba.

Farinas, who received the European Union's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of
Thought in 2010, is demanding that such beatings cease and a meeting
between dissidents and the government to negotiate an end to repression.

Farinas returned home from a hospital after being there for more than
seven hours, Juan Carlos Ruiz, a member of Farinas' organisation, the
Frente Antitotalitario Unido (the United Antitotalitarian Front), said
in a telephone interview from the dissident's home.

"They gave him an intravenous solution. But already he is recovering and
right now sleeping," he said.

More than a dozen other dissidents around the country, mainly members of
an opposition organisation called the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UPACU) in
the eastern part of the country, also are on hunger strikes, with at
least two members hospitalized, according to opposition groups.

A few of the UPACU members began their hunger strikes earlier than
Farinas, also to protest repression.

Farinas has been a vocal critic of the detente between the United States
and Cuba that began in December 2014, when he said dissidents should
have been included in secret talks preceding it that he called a betrayal.

Last week, the U.S. State Department voiced concern about the condition
of Farinas and other hunger strikers, and urged Cuba's government to
take action.

"We stand in solidarity with those who advocate for human rights and
fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and the right to
peaceful assembly," State Department spokesman John Kirby said.

Communist-run Cuba calls all political opponents U.S. mercenaries with
no popular following.

Dissidents are relatively free to talk among themselves, travel abroad
and publish on the internet, though their posts are blocked within the

However, Cuban opposition efforts to organise political protests and
engage in civil disobedience are regularly met by harassment, mobs of
government supporters, temporary detentions and occasional imprisonment.

(Additional reporting by Nelson Acosta; Editing by Will Dunham)

- Reuters

Source: Cuban dissident briefly hospitalized, hunger strike in third
week - Channel NewsAsia -
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