Doctors Give Medical Clearance To Guillermo Fariñas / 14ymedio

Guillermo Fariñas on hunger strike. (Courtesy)
Guillermo Fariñas on hunger strike. (Courtesy)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 28 August 2016 — Regime opponent Guillermo Fariñas received medical clearance on Saturday, after staying for several hours at the Arnaldo Milian Castro Hospital where he was taken because of his delicate state of health after 39 days on a hunger and thirst strike. The 2010 winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought fainted at his home in the Chirusa neighborhood in the city of Santa Clara, as was confirmed to this newspaper by his mother, Alicia Hernandez.

On a phone call from 14ymedio’s newsroom to the observation room in the hospital, an employee confirmed that Fariñas “arrived unconscious at about three in the afternoon,” but an hour and a half later was “better as he opened his eyes.”

Alicia Hernandez said her son “recovered consciousness” and the decision about whether he should remain in the hospital or be discharged would depend on “how he reacts to treatment,” a reference to the rehydration sera administered during his stay in the observation room.

The dissident suffers severe dehydration and severe joint pain. This is the fourth time he was transferred to the hospital after fainting.

Along with his mother, several activists from the Anti-totalitarian Forum (FANTU) were also with Fariñas in the hospital.

FANTU Activists Ask Obama to “Save the Life” of Guillermo Farinas / 14ymedio

Guillermo Farinas on hunger and thirst strike. (Courtesy)
Guillermo Farinas on hunger and thirst strike. (Courtesy)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 21 August 2016 — A group of activists from the Anti-Totalitarian Forum (FANTU) have sent an open letter to President Barack Obama, asking him to “save the life of Guillermo Fariñas Hernández” who, as of Sunday, has been on a hunger strike for 32 days. The missive is addressed to the leader as “president of the country which is a beacon of human rights in the world.”

Seven members of the opposition organization which is led by Fariñas, winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, are asking Obama to “use his political wisdom to take any action” that would avoid the death of the dissident. However, they clarify that the letter is not asking the US president to do “something tied to politics.” Continue reading “FANTU Activists Ask Obama to “Save the Life” of Guillermo Farinas / 14ymedio”

Activists Ask Pope Francis to Take an Interest in Health of Guillermo Fariñas / 14ymedio

Guillermo Farinas on hunger and thirst strike. (Courtesy / File)
Guillermo Farinas on hunger and thirst strike. (Courtesy / File)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 17 August 2016 — In a letter to Pope Francis, eight activists from the Anti-Totalitarian Forum (FANTU) have asked “his Holiness to take an interest” in the condition of regime opponent Guillermo Fariñas after 27 days on hunger strike.

The signatories are appealing to the Bishop of Rome to “keep Fariñas in your prayers” and said that the 2010 recipient of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is risking his life to demand “compliance with Cuba’s existing laws to stop the violence of some Cubans against others.” Continue reading “Activists Ask Pope Francis to Take an Interest in Health of Guillermo Fariñas / 14ymedio”

Do Hunger Strikes Work as a Strategy to Pressure the Cuban Government? / 14ymedio

Guillermo Fariñas, UNPACU Activist: “With this [hunger strike] I am giving the Castro regime leaders to decide if they want to assassinate me publicly.”

Eliécer Ávila, President of Somos+ (We Are More): “I don’t see how the death of leaders who should motivate people and push changes can be helpful.”

14ymedio, 10 August 2016 – This Tuesday, activist Carlos Amel Oliva has ended four weeks on hunger strike after spending the last five days in hospital due to the deteriorating state of his health. Eight members of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) had seconded his protest and decided not to eat in solidarity with the opponent’s demands, including State Security returning his personal belongings, the confiscation of which he considered a violation of his rights.

On 20 July, regime opponent Guillermo Fariñas also began a hunger and thirst strike, for which he has received hospital care on several occasions in recent days. Winner of the European Parliament’s Andrei Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, he is demanding that the Cuban government cease its repression against dissidents and that the authorities agree to a dialog with the opposition. Continue reading “Do Hunger Strikes Work as a Strategy to Pressure the Cuban Government? / 14ymedio”

Ivan Hernandez And Felix Navarro Prevented From Leaving Cuba “A Second Time” / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar

Ivan Hernandez Carrillo. (Twitter / @ivanlibre)
Ivan Hernandez Carrillo. (Twitter / @ivanlibre)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 11 August 2016 – Cuba’s immigration authorities prevented activists Ivan Hernandez and Felix Navarro from traveling outside Cuba this Thursday. The former prisoners of the 2003 Black Spring were invited to participate in the 2nd Cuban National Conference that be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from 12 to 14 August, but were unable to board their flight at Havana’s José Martí International Airport, where they ran into Reinaldo Escobar, 14ymedio’s editor

The answer that each of the dissidents received on presenting their documents to the Immigration and Nationality official was: “You cannot leave a second time.” Continue reading “Ivan Hernandez And Felix Navarro Prevented From Leaving Cuba “A Second Time” / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar”

US Embassy Official Visits Guillermo Fariñas / 14ymedio

Guillermo Fariñas on a hunger and thirst strike (courtesy)
Guillermo Fariñas on a hunger and thirst strike (courtesy)

14ymedio, Havana, 9 August 2016 – A note published on the digital site of the Anti-totalitarian Forum (FANTU) reports that Dana Brown, Political and Economic Section Chief of the United States Embassy in Havana visited Guillermo Fariñas at his home in Santa Clara on Monday. The official showed her “concern” for the health of the opposition leader, who has been on a hunger and thirst strike for more than 20 days.

Fariñas said that the American diplomat arrived at this house around noon, interested in his “state of health” and “the demands” that the dissident made to Raul Castro’s government. She asked the winner of the European Parliament’s 2010 Sakharov Price for Human Rights how the United States government could help him. The conversation between them lasted “almost an hour” and was a “very fruitful and respectful dialog” according to Fariñas.

With the visit of Brown, two diplomatic representatives have now visited Fariñas since the beginning of his hunger strike. On 31 July the first secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature in Cuba, the priest Jose Manuel Alcaide Borreguero visited his home in the Santa Clara neighborhood of La Chirusa.

Fariñas, 54, has undertaken more than 20 hunger strikes since 1995, the most recent of them in 2010 lasting 135 days, in which he demanded the release of a group of opponents of the 2003 Black Spring.

Guillermo "Coco" Farinas; Hunger and Thirst Strike Continues / Lilianne Ruíz

Lilianne Ruiz, 29 July 2016 — Guillermo ‘Coco’ Fariñas lost consciousness on Thursday, 28 July at noon, the eighth day of his hunger and thirst strike. He had to be taken to the main hospital of Santa Clara by the group of activists who are with him in the strike. He had spent the morning with much discomfort and his temperature had risen because of dehydration.

He arrived at the hospital unconscious and with the corners of his mouth and tongue parched, and covered of bloody scabs. He is suffering from “dizziness and all the hassles of severe dehydration,” according to Dr. Rodriguez Rangel, a FANTU (Anti-Totalitarian Front) activist and follower of Coco’s. It was the activists who took him, unconscious, to receive intravenous hydration. Coco had indicated, as he told me by phone, that the strike is “not about committing suicide,” but about resisting hunger and thirst until his demands are met. This is his 25th hunger strike. Continue reading “Guillermo "Coco" Farinas; Hunger and Thirst Strike Continues / Lilianne Ruíz”

Oscar Arias Asks Fariñas To Suspend His Hunger Strike / 14ymedio

The former president of Costa Rica Oscar Arias (R) with former Polish president Lech Walesa (L). (EFE)
The former president of Costa Rica Oscar Arias (R) with former Polish president Lech Walesa (L). (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 23 July 2016 — In a letter published Saturday by the former president of Costa Rica and 1987 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Oscar Arias Sanchez asks his “friend” Guillermo Fariñas to “lift his hunger and thirst strike.”

Arias Sanchez explains that the hunger strike will not succeed as a recourse to persuade the government of the island “that you cannot pursue noble ends with ignoble means.” He also says that Cuba “is not a different democracy” but rather is “a dictatorship.” The former Costa Rican president (1986-1990 and 2006-2010) recalled the case of regime opponent Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died after an 86-day hunger strike. He did not manage “to convince the Cuban regime that it was necessary to preserve the life of this person, regardless of any ideological differences” and nor did he move “the compassion of the Cuban dictatorship.” Continue reading “Oscar Arias Asks Fariñas To Suspend His Hunger Strike / 14ymedio”

Fariñas Begins Hunger And Thirst Strike To Demand Dialogue With The Government / 14ymedio

Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas. (Wikicommons)
Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas. (Wikicommons)

14ymedio, Havana, 20 July 2016 — Guillermo Fariñas, winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2010, has declared a hunger and thirst strike and as of dawn Wednesday to demand an end to the beatings of non-violent opponents in Cuba and that a dialogue be opened with government.

“It would be cynical of the Cuban government, which was a mediator in the dialog between the Colombian [FARC] guerillas and the authorities of that country, to be unable to sit down and dialog with a non-violent opposition to avoid these beatings and other outrages,” he said in a conversation with 14ymedio. Continue reading “Fariñas Begins Hunger And Thirst Strike To Demand Dialogue With The Government / 14ymedio”

Guillermo Fariñas Letter to Raul Castro

No More Repression. End the Torture.
No More Repression. End the Torture.

Fariñas’ Letter to Raul Castro

Santa Clara, Cuba, 20 July 2016

General of the Army Raul Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba

Sir:

Yesterday, on 19 July of the present year, I was tortured while handcuffed by troops of the Special Brigade of the Ministry of the Interior in the province of Santa Clara. Because of group of us, militants of the United Anti-Totalitarian Forum (FANTU), were going to the 5th Unit of the National Revolutionary Police (PNR), to inquire about our member falsely charged in the province of Pinal del Rio, Jose Rolando Casares Soto, and about a member of the Patriotic Union of Cuban (UNPACU), Carlos Amel Oliva Torres, who is on hunger strike in Santiago de Cuba.

To present oneself before an establishment of MININT is not a crime, according to current laws, if one is not carrying allusive posters, distributing propaganda, or shouting a slogan against the regime, and that was what we militants of FANTU were doing when we were violently arrested. Continue reading “Guillermo Fariñas Letter to Raul Castro”

Guillermo Fariñas’ Organization Withdraws from MUAD / 14ymedio

The Cuban regime opponent Guillermo Farinas. (Laura Maria Parra de la Cruz)
The Cuban regime opponent Guillermo Farinas. (Laura Maria Parra de la Cruz)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 1 July 2016 — In the same week, the Democratic Action Roundtable (MUAD) has lost two of its most representative organizations. On Tuesday, the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) withdrew from the organization of opponents, and Thursday the United Anti-totalitarian Front (FANTU), led by Guillermo Fariñas, made public its departure.

In a note circulated by email within the island, the FANTU National Council said that MAUD “is permeated by a majority of organizations and personalities that are not representative of the entire non-violent opposition.” Something that, according to the group, distances them from those who daily confront “in the streets, the Castro’s totalitarian regime.” Continue reading “Guillermo Fariñas’ Organization Withdraws from MUAD / 14ymedio”

Dissidents Call Meeting With Obama Positive And Give Him A List Of Political Prisoners / EFE, 14ymedio

Barack Obama meeting with dissidents in Havana on Tuesday. (14ymedio)
Barack Obama meeting with dissidents in Havana on Tuesday. (14ymedio)

14ymedio biggerEFE (14ymedio), Havana, 22 March 2016 – Several dissidents who met with President Barack Obama in Havana this Tuesday, assessed the meeting as “positive” and “frank,” and one of them delivered a list of 89 political prisoners recorded by the group he leads.

Elizardo Sanchez, spokesman for the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN), said Obama was “very clear” and reiterated to the participants at the meeting “his commitment to the cause of human rights and democratic freedoms.”

Sanchez explained that during the dialogue with the US president, he handed him a copy of the list of 89 political prisoners prepared by his group, Continue reading “Dissidents Call Meeting With Obama Positive And Give Him A List Of Political Prisoners / EFE, 14ymedio”

Obama Praises The Courage Of Dissidents In An Unprecedented Meeting / EFE, 14ymedio

US President Barack Obama meets with representatives of Cuban independent civil society in Havana (14ymedio)
US President Barack Obama meets with representatives of Cuban independent civil society in Havana (14ymedio)

14ymedio biggerEFE (14ymedio), Havana, 22 March 2016 — The president of the United States, Barack Obama, praised the “courage” of the dissidents and representatives of independent civil society Cuba at the beginning of the meeting held with them at the headquarters of the United States Embassy in Havana this Tuesday.

In brief remarks, Obama stressed that one of the objectives of normalization with Cuba is to be able to “hear directly” from the Cuban people and to ensure that they also “have a voice” in the new stage initiated between the two countries.

The meeting with president of the United States was attended by Berta Soler (Ladies in White), Miriam Celaya (activist and freelance journalist), Manuel Cuesta Morua (Progressive Arc), Miriam Leiva (freelance journalist), Guillermo Fariñas (former political prisoner and 2010 Sakharov Human Rights Prize recipient), Antonio G. Rodiles (State of SATS), Elizardo Sánchez (Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation), Nelson Matute (Afro-ACLU president, defense organization for black people discriminated against because of their sexual orientation), Laritza Diversent (Cubalex), Dagoberto Valdes (Coexistence ), Jose Daniel Ferrer (UNPACU), Yunier Angel Remon (rapper The Critic ) and Juana Mora Cedeño (Rainbow Project).

“It often requires great courage to be active in civil life here in Cuba,” Obama said, adding he said.

“There are people here who have been arrested. Some in the past and others very recently,” stressed the president.

On Monday, at least a dozen dissidents were arrested in Cuba, according to the dissident Cuban National Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN), which also counts nearly 90 political prisoners on the island.

Participating in the meeting with Obama were government opponents who support the new US policy toward the island, as is the case of Cuesta Morua, and others who criticize it, as is the case with Berta Soler of the Ladies in White.

Farinas Says Latest Arrests Show The Cuban Regime’s Insecurity / 14ymedio

Guillermo Fariñas during the Cuban National Meeting in Puerto Rico. (Martí Noticias)
Guillermo Fariñas during the Cuban National Meeting in Puerto Rico. (Martí Noticias)

14ymedio biggerEFE/14ymedio, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 17 August 2015 — The dissident Guillermo Fariñas, winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Human Rights, told EFE Monday, speaking from the Puerto Rican capital, that the arrests recorded last weekend in Cuba are a sign of insecurity of the regime in Havana.

Fariñas, who participated in the closing ceremony in San Juan of the first Cuban National Conference, said the regime in Havana “was left without enemies” after the rapprochement with the US Government.

“The battle is now with the Cuban citizen, because the enemy is the people,” said Fariñas, shortly after the issuance of the Declaration of San Juan, which contains the outcome of the meeting begun last Thursday in the Puerto Rican capital in which a hundred dissidents coming from Cuba and elsewhere participated. The declaration marks the steps to follow in the coming months. Continue reading “Farinas Says Latest Arrests Show The Cuban Regime’s Insecurity / 14ymedio”

Cuban Opposition Gathered In Puerto Rico Support Plebiscite For Free Elections / 14ymedio

14ymedio, Havana, 16 August 2015 – The Cuban National Conference –  involving one hundred activists from 23 organizations from the Island and 32 from exile meeting for three days in Puerto Rico – concluded this Saturday with a document setting forth a common strategy. The Declaration of San Juan emphasizes the need to work “to achieve full freedom for the Cuban people and genuine Rule of Law.”

Among the points of agreement among the participants were the demand for the unconditional release of all political prisoners and the repeal of laws that violate fundamental freedoms. The declaration also established as a priority achieving “freedom of speech, press, association, assembly, peaceful demonstration, profession and religion.”

The signers of the Declaration of San Juan made a call to fight for “the participation of all the people in every decision of the nation, the legalization of all political parties, and free and multi-party elections.” During the meeting 30 papers, prepared over the last year, were presented addressing several of the topics that were later reflected in the final document.

The Cuban National Conference urged “work for a campaign for a binding plebiscite in favor of free, fair and plural elections, under democratic conditions, that guarantee the sovereignty of the citizens.” Support for the Agreement for Democracy in Cuba, a document put forward in 1998 by organizations in the diaspora and on the island, was another of the issues agreed to in the final document.

The promotion of the peaceful struggle and “training of pro-democracy activists in the methods of civil disobedience,” is included among the issues to strengthen.

The participants committed to working for the collapse of the “cyber-wall in Cuba and striving so that the internal opposition has the technological resources needed to continue mobilizing the citizenry.” Progress in both aspects will monitored over the coming six months.

The Cuban National Conference, enjoyed the participation of activists such as Guillermo Fariñas, Elizardo Sanchez, Mario Felix Lleonart, Eliecer Avila, Laritza Diversent and Rene Gomez Manzanos. Its realization coincided with the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to Cuba.