Lilianne Ruiz, 19 August 2106 — Guillermo “Coco” Fariñas had to be taken to the hospital again yesterday, at 4:40 in the afternoon The photo at the top of this post was taken several weeks ago but it shows how FANTU activists take him to the hospital.
As stipulated in the World Medical Association’s Declaration of Malta on Hunger Strikers, he was intravenously hydrated with saline solution. I want to clarify I am citing the Declaration of Malta because of one of the attacks of the regime’s trolls in the virtual forums that arise these days, it is a fact that Coco could not receive saline solution in a state hospital.
It is obvious that all the hospitals and polyclinics in Cuba are state owned, and that is one of the fatalities that many of us want to change, not only to improve the quality of medical services and make them accessible to everyone without discrimination, but also to put an end to this technology of Power that Foucault aptly defined as “Biopower,” and that allows the Cuban government to minutely control the population with disciplinary and regulatory effects.
In the Cuban context we must take into account the lack of a civic culture that affects even doctors and nurses in the healthcare system. According to the World Medical Association Declaration, “Physicians attending hunger strikers can experience a conflict between their loyalty to the employing authority (such as prison management) and their loyalty to patients. Physicians with dual loyalties are bound by the same ethical principles as other physicians, that is to say that their primary obligation is to the individual patient.”
We have to think of Cuba as a prison, a concentration camp, a decrepit experiment that all Cubans want to sweep away; but fear of reprisals makes them powerless to make political decisions; but it is not the case in homes, whose walls at least reflect the echoes of the protest. So when talking about state violence we have to include the coercion and the permanent propaganda in the media, which are a state monopoly. This is how totalitarianism works: it is made up of a network of anti-democratic institutions that make up the malignant machinery.
On another point, while writing this post I managed to talk to Coco in Tuesday, by phone. He could barely talk, it’s more exact to say that I managed let him hear me for a few minutes, to express all my support and solidarity.
However, I also told him that I will give thanks to God when he is back on his feet to continue fighting for freedom, for political freedom, like fundamental human rights, which we Cubans lack.
I compare this feat of Coco’s to swimming across the Atlantic, with the legitimate purpose of disarming a criminal government, before the incredulous eyes of the major stakeholders. Because, I believe that not only Cubans but the civilized world desire that Coco, or any opposition action in this non-violent struggle for freedom and democracy in Cuba, manages to disarm the so-called Cuban government, like a criminal who puts the social order in danger is disarmed in the dreamed-of Rule of Law.
As, in fact, Coco puts his life and danger and it seems a mission impossible, the only thing we, his friends, family and activists (along with every person of goodwill in the world who knows about this situation) can do is to offer our support both because his demands are our demands, the demands of the entire Cuban people, and because preserving his life means that his struggle can be much longer. But in any case, keeping in mind in every moment what is happening in Cuba. I believe that saving him from death and the suffering of a hunger and thirst strike is a moral imperative, to be with him, to support him, to make his struggle visible by every means possible.
So, it is as if we make up a rescue team and we must do it to accompany this whole journey of Coco’s, approaching death for bringing us the incredible gift of limiting a repressive government that could be disarmed and deactivated in all its power that day by day is only negative.
Last but not least: I want to denounce the fact that the political police again seem to be plotting a smear campaign against Fariñas’ hunger and thirst strike, diverting the phone calls that we activist make.
The Telecommunications Company (ETECSA) is also a state monopoly and is controlled by the military caste.
Last weekend, August 13 and 14, it seemed that all calls in question on many occasions were diverted to a State Security command center where at least two women, clearly officials, passing themselves off as activists, provided false information about the strike, trying to make people believe that it had been ended without prior declaration.
I fund it very strange, and as a precaution didn’t respond to any absurd comment. Especially strange to me was the farewell message of the supposed activist for its bureaucratic language, the sepulchral silence of the atmosphere on the other side of the line and the insistence that the friend we call “Bebo” — an activist and spokesperson for the strike, whose voice I know — could not come to the phone.
Now that is is confirmed by the experience of many people who also called that it was a police command post and not the house in Santa Clara, I remember the words of a dear friend who always tells me that in addition to all the political arguments against socialism, people with common sense reject if for the massive lack of style it projects.
In particular, what saved me from being taken in by the trick was my full confidence in Coco Fariñas as an activist. I remember the words of Gandhi, always opportune in situations like this: “Power first ignores you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”