Hunger Striker Guillermo del Sol Taken to Hospital

After 40 days on a hunger strike, Guillermo del Sol has been taken to the Arnaldo Milián Castro hospital in Santa Clara. (Facebook/Iliana Hernández) 

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, September 20, 2019 — After 40 days on a hunger strike, the journalist and religious activist Guillermo del Sol was taken this Friday at midday to the Arnaldo Milián Castro hospital in Santa Clara, where he lives.

Del Sol is in critical condition after 40 days without consuming food, as his son Adrián del Sol Alfonso informed 14ymedio. “We just got to the hospital because he had a relapse, almost a faint, now he is under observation but they haven’t yet given him anything, neither serum nor any other treatment,” he pointed out.

This Thursday an official from State Security visited the family’s home, in Santa Clara, but “came not to negotiate but rather to harass,” he notes.

Del Sol made the decision to stop eating on August 12 after Immigration officials at the Havana airport told his son that he couldn’t leave the country. The activist then began a hunger strike to demand an end to the arbitrary actions against 150 “regulated” dissidents. (“Regulated” is the term the government uses to define those forbidden from traveling outside the country.)

“Last night my father didn’t sleep well, in the last 72 hours he has gone into a complicated state due to the deterioration of his health, by now it’s 40 days of starvation, on hunger strike,” explains his son. “His parameters are completely unbalanced, the doctor is coming every day now.”

“Yesterday he spent the night wanting to vomit, it’s difficult for me to communicate with him, he is no longer articulate, sometimes I ask him something and he doesn’t respond.” The young man explains that Del Sol remains in bed and awake. “I’m very worried about his situation and his health,” he reiterates.

In an interview with this newspaper the activist had predicted that the Cuban authorities would remain silent until he was dying. “That’s if they don’t decide to let me die. But it depends on them,” he argued. A situation that appears to be happening.

The official from State Security who visited him on September 19 came in civilian clothing. “He came to criticize, to reproach the actions that we are taking,” says Adrián del Sol Alfonso. In the first 27 days without eating food, the activist lost 21 kilograms in weight.

It’s not the first time that Del Sol has declared himself on hunger strike. The last one culminated on May 20, 2017, after more than twenty days without eating food as a demand that he be returned some film equipment that the police had confiscated. On that occasion, the independent journalist and Evangelical pastor achieved his demand.

“I know that demanding an end to the arbitrary regulations of the 150 ’regulated’ people that we have been able to count seems like madness and that demanding only the reversal of that condition for my son would have been easier,” assured Del Sol a few weeks ago, but “the world has to know that the Cuban government is trying to turn our borders into bars.”

This Friday, the activist obtained a victory by achieving the objective of a petition that he started on the platform to collect signatures supporting the removal of the director of Radio and TV Martí, Tomás Regalado, who just resigned. Del Sol assured that many Cubans lamented that the broadcaster was no longer fulfilling its real function but was rather dedicating itself to placating “personal questions” of its director.

In recent years Cuban authorities have used travel restrictions as a repressive strategy against activists, opposition figures, and independent reporters. The Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation has denounced this practice, and on social media the demand is expressed with the hashtag #Ni1ReguladoMás (Not One More Regulated), which helps to raise awareness in public opinion and pressure Cuban authorities.

Translated by: Sheilagh Herrera


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