14ymedio Faces of 2018: Tomas Nunez Magdariaga, Activist Released After a 62-Day Hunger Strike

Tomás Núñez Magdariaga was hospitalized in Santiago de Cuba and was not allowed to receive family visits as long as he refused to end his hunger strike. (Courtesy)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 26 December 2018 — Cuban Patriotic Union activist Tomás Núñez Magdariaga was released in mid-October after spending 62 days on a hunger strike to protest a one-year prison sentence.

Núñez Magdariaga had been convicted of threatening an informant from State Security who later retracted the accusation, alleging that he had not been provided with a job and housing in exchange, as been promised. At that time, the activist had been on a hunger strike for one month to protest his situation.

According to what the dissident later reported, the worst moment of his fast was when he was taken out of the hospital after 42 days without eating. “They took me to the prison of Boniatico, where they have the prisoners with life sentences, and they put me alone in a punishment cell and in underpants, with nothing else and nothing to put on the floor, with the cold and without a mattress.”

The archbishop of Santiago de Cuba, Dionisio García Ibáñez, visited the activist, which gave substantial support to the cause of his release. At the same time, the US government also expressed its “serious” concern for the health of the opposition figure and called for his immediate release.

In his last week of the strike, after 19 days handcuffed to a bed in the Juan Bruno Zayas Hospital, Núñez Magdariaga firmly rejected the serums that were keeping him alive.

It was then when Major Granja, deputy head of of Aguadores Prison where they had transferred the activist, went to the hospital and told him of his immediate release, which took place within a few minutes, with a list of medical recommendations for recovery and re-feeding.

On November 28 a group of judges of the Supreme Court went to Palma Soriano, where the activist lives, to hear the appeal that his family had made during the days he was in prison. At the hearing, his repentant accuser was presented as a witness who confirmed the withdrawal of his complaint. In this way his freedom was formalized.

Tomás Núñez Magdariaga continues today as an activist of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU).

See also: 14ymedio Faces of 2018


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