Cuban dissident hunger striker rushed to hospital says ready to die
HAVANA (AFP) – Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas, who has been on hunger
strike since last week over a political prisoner's death, was
hospitalized Wednesday after fainting, a spokeswoman said.
"He fainted and we decided to take him by car to the hospital. He was
suffering from hypoglycemia," said Lisset Zamora, a spokeswoman for
Farinas, who was in the central city of Santa Clara.
Farinas, 48, had begun his 23rd hunger strike, refusing all food and
drink since learning last Tuesday of the death of political prisoner
Orlando Zapata, who died 85 days into a hunger strike to protest prison
conditions in the Americas' only one-party communist regime.
Zapata's death drew international outrage, with rights groups calling on
Cuba to release all political prisoners.
Farinas, in an interview with the Spanish daily El Pais Tuesday,
defiantly vowed to press on with a hunger strike "until the final
consequences" to demand the release of sick political prisoners.
"Yes, I can die. The time has come for the world to realize that this
government is cruel. There are moments in the history of a country when
there must be martyrs," Farinas told El Pais.
Farinas was visited Monday by two doctors and a nurse from the
government who found him to be very dehydrated, but he had refused
Former Cuban president and revolutionary icon Fidel Castro has rejected
international condemnation of Zapata's death and insisted there was no
repression or torture in Cuba.
Raul Castro said last week in a rare official statement that bordered on
an apology that he "regrets" Zapata's death, but denied all charges of
Zapata's mother has charged that her son was tortured and called his
death "premeditated murder."
"I think the government will not change. I am not hopeful. The Cuban
government is clinging to power, it is facing a difficult moment, they
are not going to change until there are 50 opponents on a hunger strike,
that would be a problem for the whole society," Farinas told El Pais.
Cuban dissident groups say there are more than 200 political prisoners,
of whom 65 are deemed prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International.
Cuba denies that there are political prisoners and calls dissidents
"mercenaries" in the pay of the United States.
Cuban dissident hunger striker rushed to hospital says ready to die –
Yahoo! News (3 March 2010)