Havana Cuba Business Travel Culture and Politics

Havana Cuba News

Cuba Politics News

Posted March 03, 2010 by publisher in Cuba Human Rights

Email this article | Print this article | Search Havana Journal        

Fidel and Raul might have another death on their hands soon.

Will they force Coco to eat or give him intravenous nutrition to keep him alive or will Raul blame the US for his death too as Raul was visiting with Lula in Mariel?

Raul Castro quoted by Brazilian reporters in Cuba

“We regret it very much. That’s the result of relations with the United States.”

Hard to believe but there it is.

Guillermo “Coco” Fariñas

Freedom and liberty in the modern world and for Cuba’s Orlando Zapata



Second Cuban Hunger Striker, Guillermo Farinas, On the Verge of Death



Fariñas: “El gobierno cubano va a perder el control del país”

  1. Follow up post #1 added on March 03, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    AFP

    Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas, who has been on a hunger strike since last week, 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.

    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 treatment.

    “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.



    Cuba consulting services

  2. Follow up post #2 added on March 05, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Update by PAUL HAVEN | Associated Press Writer

    A dissident journalist who has gone nine days without eating or drinking told The Associated Press on Friday that he is willing to give his life to call attention to the plight of Cuba’s political prisoners.

    If he does, Guillermo Farinas would be the second hunger striker to die on the communist island in as many weeks, and his death would be sure to spark a new round of international condemnation of the Castro government.

    “There are moments in the lives of nations where martyrs are needed and I think that moment has arrived,” Farinas, gaunt, bald and with fallow brown eyes, said during an interview at his shabby, two-story home with walls of faded pink and lime-green.

    Farinas was hospitalized Wednesday after briefly losing consciousness. Doctors gave him fluids intravenously, then sent him home, saying there was little more they could do if he refused to eat.

    Farinas is already approaching the limit of how long most people can go without water. But his family plans to hospitalize him each time he losses consciousness, meaning more fluid treatments that could keep him alive for weeks.

    He said doctors told him it will take five or six more days before he again reaches crisis stage.

    A psychologist, Farinas became so frustrated with Cuba’s single-party communist system that, in 2004, he began working for Cubanacan Press, a small dissident news agency reporting on the hardships of daily life.

    Now 48, Farinas has held 22 other hunger strikes in the past 15 years, and has been jailed repeatedly for dissident activities on charges including disrespecting authority, public disorder and assault against a suspected undercover government informant.

    This time, he stopped eating and drinking on Feb. 24, the day after jailed dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo died following an 83-day hunger strike in which he only accepted vitamin-fortified liquids. Farinas is demanding the release of 26 political prisoners he says are in poor health.

    Zapata Tamayo’s death—the first by a hunger striker in Cuba in nearly 40 years—led Spain’s socialist prime minister to call for the release of all Cuban “prisoners of conscience.” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. government was “deeply distressed.”

    Farinas wore white pajamas and moved slowly and deliberately Friday, an aluminum walking stick by his side. He removed his shirt to reveal a rail-thin frame and stomach dotted with scars where the government force-fed him during past hunger strikes.

    “This is the only way I have to protest against the Cuban government and to show they are villains,” he said when asked why he has resorted to refusing to eat or drink so often. “What other option have I got?”

    Seated on a wicker-backed couch, with a photo of himself beaming as a baby nearby, Farinas looked reasonably strong. He acknowledged feeling better since doctors inserted an IV in his neck and gave him eight liters of fluids and nutrients—but said the hunger strike has left him weak, with flulike symptoms, a burning throat and back pain.

    “This is not a suicide, because I’m asking for something logical. I’m not asking that they give me power,” he said. “I’m not asking that Raul (Castro) leave the country on a plane. I’m only asking that they free 26 prisoners who even the state doctors have determined are in no condition to be in jail.”

    Farinas lives in Santa Clara, a central Cuban city famous for its towering statue of Che Guevara and a mausoleum holding his remains.

    Farinas said he takes calls daily from European embassies in Havana, as well as the U.S. Interests Section, which Washington keeps on the island because it has no diplomatic relations with Cuba.

    Hunger strikes present challenges for authorities in any country since force-feeding can be a human rights violation. At the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo, for instance, more than 130 terror suspects have refused meals at different times. In some cases, that has prompted officials to put inmates into a restraint chair and insert feeding tubes into their noses, forcing them to take milky nutritional supplements, mixed with water and olive oil. 

    Members of Cuba’s opposition community vowed to seize the moment of international outrage over Zapata Tamayo’s death to press for change on the island, which has tolerated little dissent since Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution ousted dictator Fulgencio Batista.

    Farinas said he was convinced the Cuban government would let him die this time. Given the economic crisis on the island, he said, the government cannot afford to appear weak by giving into his demands. He said he is not willing to call off the strike because he thinks his comrades in jail will die if not released.

    “They (the government) don’t have the luxury of giving up, and I don’t either,” he said.

    Cuba’s Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation, a Havana-based group which the government does not recognize but largely tolerates, says there are about 200 political prisoners on the island.

    Four jailed dissidents who began hunger strikes shortly after Zapata Tamayo’s death ended them after just a few days.

    How many Cubans are even aware of Farinas’ protest is unclear. There has been no mention of it in the official press, and access to the Internet—where many opposition figures have blogs—is restricted and prohibitively expensive.

    While state-media has ignored Farinas, the government has been surprisingly open about Zapata Tamayo’s case.

    President Raul Castro made a rare statement following his death, denying that he was tortured or executed but adding that he regretted what happened. Castro also blamed problems on the island on Washington’s 48-year trade embargo. Fidel Castro also alluded to Zapata Tamayo in a newspaper column, though he did not mention him by name.

    On Monday, the government devoted a third of its nightly newscast to countering claims that doctors let Zapata Tamayo die. That report even included what appeared to be footage from a hidden camera of Zapata Tamayo’s mother thanking a state doctor for trying to save him.

    Ann Louise Bardach, a Cuba expert at the Brookings Institute and author of the book “Without Fidel,” said the video of Zapata Tamayo’s mother could backfire on the government.

    “The average Cuban looks at that and says, ‘Oh my God, they are spying on her even in her moment of grief,” she said. “And that resonates with Cubans.”

    Bardach said the twin hunger strikes could for the first time in recent memory thrust the opposition into a larger role—and that the government is concerned.

    “We are seeing now for the very first time that the opposition is getting some traction,” she said. “When both Fidel and Raul Castro for the first time in history feel compelled to make a statement within 48 hours of a prisoner’s death, they are worried.”

    Farinas said he hasn’t told his 8-year-old daughter that he is planning to stay on the hunger strike until he dies. All she knows is that he has been sick.

    “I’m thinking of her,” he said. “But more than in the love I have for my daughter, I am thinking of the love I have for my country.”



    Cuba consulting services

  3. Follow up post #3 added on March 08, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Reuters says Cuba says won’t be “blackmailed” by hunger strike

    Cuba, trying to deflect international criticism over the recent hunger strike death of a political prisoner, said on Monday it would not be “blackmailed” by another dissident hunger striker, whom it accused of being a convicted criminal.

    The Communist Party newspaper Granma, which reflects government policy, said in an article that Guillermo Farinas, who began his hunger strike last month, had served prison terms after being jailed in 1995 for beating a woman and in 2002 for beating an old man who was trying to stop “a terrorist act”.

    Granma said Farinas, who is now at home and has vowed to starve himself to death if necessary in his stated aim to achieve the release of 26 ailing political prisoners, became a dissident only to “evade justice.”

    Farinas, 48, launched his hunger strike on Feb. 24, a day after prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo died from an 85-day hunger strike to protest prison conditions.

    Zapata’s case drew international condemnation of Cuba and calls for the communist-led country to release its estimated 200 political prisoners.

    After his death, Cuba said he was just a common criminal, but dissidents called him a martyr.

    Farinas, who lives in Santa Clara, southeast of Havana, has said he wants the Cuban government to release 26 political prisoners said to be in ill health and is prepared to die if necessary.

    Granma said “Cuba ... will not accept pressures or blackmails.”

    Farinas said he had conducted 22 previous hunger strikes for a variety of causes, including seeking access to the Internet, which is limited in Cuba.

    Granma said he was being egged on by other dissidents, foreign enemies and the international press and that they, not Cuba, would be responsible for the outcome.

    It accused Farinas, as it does most opponents of the government, of being an “agent in the service of the United States,” Cuba’s longtime ideological foe.

    “It is not medicine that must resolve the problem intentionally created for the purpose of discrediting our political system, but the patient himself and unpatriotic people, foreign diplomats and press that manipulate him,” Granma said.

    “The consequences will be completely and only their responsibility,” it said.

    Granma said “bioethic principles” prevented doctors from forcing Farinas to eat. He also is not taking liquids and on Wednesday had to be rushed to hospital where he was intravenously fed fluids.

    The paper said he was treated during past hunger strikes, but that doctors could only intervene “when the patient has gone into shock” or “what is called the point of no return.”

    The article also warned that Farinas was in a state of “notable deterioration” due to his previous hunger strikes. (Reporting by Jeff Franks; Editing by Pascal Fletcher)

    END

    “bioethic principles”? Doesn’t that mean human rights?

    So the Cuban government has no problems violating human rights while people are alive but when it comes to saving their lives then the government plays the human rights card?

    Only in Cuba.

    Seems like Raul and Fidel don’t like the pressure.

    This time it’s different?



    Cuba consulting services

  4. Follow up post #4 added on March 08, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Fariñas rejects invitation to move to Spain

    The Spanish government has asked dissident Guillermo Fariñas Hernández to end his fast and settle in Spain, the Spanish news agency EFE reported Monday.

    A political adviser from the Spanish Embassy, Carlos Pérez Desoy, visited Fariñas at his home in Santa Clara, to convey the invitation.

    Diplomatic sources confirmed to EFE that the Spanish government was willing to accept Fariñas “for humanitarian reasons.” The Cuban government reportedly has agreed to let the dissident leave.

    But Fariñas refused to accept Madrid’s offer, saying he will fast until 26 ill political prisoners are released. “That day, I shall end the [hunger] strike. [...] Right now, I don’t plan to leave the country. [...] I shall continue until the final consequences,” he told EFE.



    Cuba consulting services

  5. Follow up post #5 added on March 08, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    You want some “balance”?

    Here’s Prensa Latina’s version:

    Havana, Mar 8 (Prensa Latina) Cuba considers pressures and blackmail unacceptable, and strongly defends the life and dignity of the human being, Granma daily sustains in an article Monday.

      The text refers to a new media campaign on mercenary Guillermo Farinas, who began a hunger strike in his house 13 days ago with the intention of forcing the release of over 20 counterrevolutionary prisoners.

    Those in jail were sanctioned for acting at the service of foreign interests, against independence and constitutional order.

    The daily highlights the manipulation of press reports alleging the Cuban government said to let die the wage earner of the US Interest Section in Havana, without saying a single word about our health professionals’ multiple efforts to care for him.

    Farinas’ health has seriously deteriorated due to successive hunger strikes, and remains alive thanks to the medical attention he has received, no matter his condition as mercenary, the text reads.

    Granma daily also comments that disorders of his personality have no political overtones, and recalled that in 1995 he inflicted multiple injuries to an official from a health center, and was thus sentenced to three years in jail, and fined 600.00 pesos.

    To evade justice, the article continues, he orchestrated his first hunger strike, then dedicated to give distorted information through subversive radio stations, and express his desire to die if his demands were not met.

    A second incident in Santa Clara in 2002 ratified his violent nature, when he strongly beat with a cane an old man who had foiled a terrorist act by someone personally sent by international criminal Luis Posada Carriles.

    Once sentenced to five years and ten months in prison by the Villa Clara Provincial Court, he made a scene with another hunger strike.

    On that occasion, Farinas dehydrated, he stopped the strike, and then retook it on November 4, 2002 asking to have a TV at the infirmary ward of the prison where he was recovering.

    On December 3, 2005, he was given an extra-penal license taking into consideration his health situation, in line with our laws and the humanitarian principle of our justice and penitentiary system.

    Three years later, this agent, at the service of the US and regular reported of anti-Cuban radio stations, held a prolonged fasting to demand Internet access from his house.

    Farinas has also supported all kinds of activities by the US Interest Section in Havana and some European diplomatic headquarters that mastermind subversion in Cuba, from which he receives instructions, money and supplies.

    END

    Raul is already writing Farinas’ obituary.

    “Farinas is a criminal and the US is bad”

    Right Raul. We’ve heard that before.



    Cuba consulting services

  6. Follow up post #6 added on March 09, 2010 by Yeyo with 411 total posts

    Publisher remenber there are not political prisioners in Cuba.
    All those disidents are “mercenaries paid by USA”.
    I wonder how much US is paying them because looking at their houses you can see that their living conditions are kind of low and average for Cuban standards at the most.


  7. Follow up post #7 added on March 09, 2010 by jmw1 with 62 total posts

    Also, ‘convicted criminal’ in a dictatorship has no meaning.
    Who controls the courts?


  8. Follow up post #8 added on March 11, 2010 by cayo with 7 total posts

    How many more will die like this in Cuba, There is not enough news coverage outside Cuba. People really need to see what goes on in Cuba, Why don’t other countries ban travel there, surly this will hit the Castro government hard. Something needs to be done to stop this outrage.


  9. Follow up post #9 added on March 11, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Letting US citizens travel to Cuba to see the country is the best way to get word out on what life is like in Cuba.

    Banning US travel to Cuba for 50 years hasn’t worked.



    Cuba consulting services

  10. Follow up post #10 added on March 17, 2010 by jmw1 with 62 total posts

    It’s time for an update, this brave soul will die soon.
    Perhaps the Cuban government has this hunger strike under ‘control’?
    The Castro’s will do nothing and allow two (voluntary) deaths in rapid sucession, this should result in international action, not words.


  11. Follow up post #11 added on March 18, 2010 by Cubana with 282 total posts

    Coco was admitted to hospital for a second time last Friday. See this article:

    http://knightcenter.utexas.edu/blog/?q=en/node/6659

    Text:

    Cuban journalist on prolonged hunger strike is hospitalized again

    Guillermo “Coco” Fariñas received care in a government hospital Friday after passing out at his home the day before, the Associated Press reports. It was the second time he has lost consciousness and been fed and hydrated intravenously since starting a hunger strike Feb. 24.

    “Ismeli Iglesias, a dissident doctor who is helping treat Fariñas, said that the hospital’s intervention meant his life was no longer in danger,” the AP’s Paul Havens writes. “But Iglesias warned that Farinas’ immune system was weak and complications could emerge. He said Farinas could survive for months if his family continues to take him to the hospital each time he loses consciousness.”

    His admission to a hospital in the central city of Santa Clara follows growing international condemnation of the Havana regime and criticism of leaders such as Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who have voiced support for Cuba, The Wall Street Journal reports. (See this previous Knight Center post.)

    Some of Cuba’s leading opponents of the Castro regime, including blogger Yoani Sanchez and dissident leader Oswaldo Payá, have tried to persuade Fariñas to abandon his hunger strike, the AP and Catholic News Agency report.


Would you like to add more information?


Only members can add more information. Please register or log in

  • Advertise at Havana Journal Inc
Images of Cuba
Antique convertible automobile in Havana Cuba
Follow Havana Journal
SUBSCRIBE to our Cuba Watch newsletter
LIKE us on Facebook

FOLLOW us on Twitter

CONNECT with us on Linked In

Section Archive
Havana Journal, Inc. BBB Business Review



Member of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy