Cuban Journalist Ends Hunger Strike — For Now

Cuban journalist Guillermo Fariñas drank a glass of water on Thursday, ending his 135 day-long hunger strike. The  Catholic Archdiocese of Havana declared that the government would release five political prisoners as soon as possible and send them to Spain with their families, and then release 47 others in the next two to three months. This news coincides with a visit by Spain’s foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, and comes a month after the government announced it would move prisoners closer to their homes.

Fariñas, who earlier this week revealed he has two blood clots and is nearing death, started his hunger strike to call for the release of 25 political prisoners in poor health after activist Orlando Zapata Tamayo died from going on a hunger strike of his own. He told CNN en Español that if the government did not release the prisoners by November 7, he would resume his hunger strike.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the release of prisoners “a positive sign” though “overdue,” and a spokesperson for the State Department said the U.S. would be willing to provide asylum to prisoners.

On the other hand, Deputy Director at Human Rights Watch Daniel Wilkinson points out, “It’s a good thing, but we’ve seen this before,” citing the release of hundreds of prisoners in 1998 after Pope John Paul II paid a visit. Americas director José Miguel Vivanco argues, “So long as Cuba’s draconian laws and sham trials remain in place, they will continue to restock the prison cells with new generations of innocent Cubans who dare to exercise their basic rights.”

20 Minutos, commons.wikimedia.org

60 comments

Beng Kiat Low
low beng kiat6 years ago

thanks

Michele C.
Michele C.6 years ago

Thanks for the information

Peter B.
Peter B.6 years ago

thanks for shareing

Philippa P.
Philippa P.6 years ago

Let's hope he made some sort of difference.

Deb R.
Past Member 6 years ago

Mary Swan:
You are right...Carol H's comments were very unfit for this site or any other. Glad you were spared them.

Alamzeb Akhund
Alamzeb Khan6 years ago

THANKS FOR THIS INFORMATION.

John C.
Past Member 6 years ago

May his suffering not be wasted.
End torture and reduce prison populations.
Watch & Learn:
http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=-3739500579629840148&hl=en

Jennifer Blan
Jennifer M.6 years ago

Horrible.

Sylvia D.
Sylvia Dreyer6 years ago

Continued:

... government is passed on, their overall knowledge is impaired. Many primary teachers barely have a 12th grade education.

I could go on but it would take all day...

If Castro really wanted to implement a Socialist system of government he could have based it on what we find in Scandinavian countries. It could had been a sound success but obviously to the detriment of the Cuban people that was never in the cards...

Sylvia D.
Sylvia Dreyer6 years ago

With all due respect to some of the people that have commented on the virtues of Castro's Cuba, my question is: Have you actually visited Cuba and asked an average citizen how he fares or observed his day to day struggle to ensure his family basic needs? I think not.
I’m a Cuban-American and, very unlike the typical Cuban “right” political orientation, I’m a center/left liberal; however, I just came back from visiting Cuba and my assessment is that:
1. It is a brutal, well thought and meditated military dictatorship with no qualms about exercising extreme measures to control, manipulate and subdue the people.
2. The government‘s elite primary goal seems to be to retain their privileged positions instead tackling the urgent economic and moral deterioration of the people.
3. The embargo has to go but they have also been successfully negotiating with other countries. The deterioration of the economic, social and moral fiber of the country is largely due to the lack of administrative skills of those in power.
4. Cubans have free medical coverage, however, while hospitals designed for foreigners are well equipped and provide good care these are not available to the average citizen. Affordable genetic medicine and alternative protocols could be available but aren’t.
5. While the people can read and write it doesn’t mean that they are well educated. My experience was that because they are in a capsule where only information approved by the