1 June 2006
Havana.– Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas on Wednesday completed the fourth month of his hunger strike, saying that he wanted to leave the hospital where he is being monitored and return to his home. His mother, Alicia Hernandez, told the press on Wednesday that Fariñas on Monday was experiencing diarrhea, vomiting, fever and severe pain in his joints.” He feels bad and has said he wants to come home. We’re trying to convince him to stay (in the hospital) but he’s unwilling and said he wants to be together with his family because he doesn’t think his situation is going to change,” Hernandez said. Fariñas, 43, launched the hunger strike on Jan. 31 to press his demand for Cubans to be allowed unrestricted access to the Internet. Cuba’s 47-year-old one-party Communist government limits legal access to the Web in an effort to control what the populace may read and see. Since February, Fariñas has been in the intensive care ward of the hospital in the central city of Santa Clara. Hernandez, herself a nurse, said that her son had been diagnosed with gastroduodenitis and with nutritional polyneuropathy, had suffered kidney failure twice and had experienced a pneumothorax – a collection of air in the pleural cavity surrounding the lungs – as well as a blood clot after he bled into the pleural cavity, the latter of which required that he undergo a minor surgery. Although her son’s blood pressure has remained stable, Hernandez said that “his body is being sustained artificially, because that treatment is to protect his life and sustain him,” adding that he weighs only 52 kilograms (114 pounds). A psychologist and the director of the independent Cubanacan Press agency, Fariñas has mounted 20 hunger strikes since 1995, including one a few years ago that lasted 14 months.