Cuba Post-'Normalization': Tortured Dissident Begins 24th Hunger Strike
by FRANCES MARTEL21 Jul 20167
Guillermo Fariñas, a Cuban human rights activist who has been a vocal
critic of President Barack Obama's concessions to dictator Raúl Castro,
has declared himself on a hunger strike following a severe beating in
which communist agents tortured him for hours for daring to inquire
about the status of another dissident in custody.
Fariñas has posted a video online describing the injuries he suffered
this week at the hands of Castro's police. Fariñas and a group of
dissidents had walked to a police station to inquire about a dissident
recently arrested: Carlos Amel Oliva, currently himself on a hunger strike.
Fariñas notes that they did not assemble in protest; they made no public
declarations against communism, held up no signs and brought no flyers
to distribute urging dissent. He was nonetheless arrested and tortured,
suffering two fractured ribs and speaking through a swollen, "black" tongue.
In the video, he describes the methods of torture: Attempted
asphyxiation, elbow blows to the ribs, and having his tongue pulled out
until it turned purple. The police, he said, told him "it was important
for me to know… they didn't want me on the street anymore."
"He told me he was going to kill me and 'viva Fidel,'" Fariñas adds,
calling the torture "crimes against humanity."
Fariñas will not eat or drink water, he declares, until "Raúl Castro
says publicly to everyone that there will be no more torture, no more
beatings, no more death threats, no more false charges against
opposition and arbitrary confiscation." He confirms to the cameraman
that he is willing to die in protest.
Fariñas has also penned an open letter to Raúl Castro in which he
asserts that a wave of "abuse, terror, and violence by the repressive
authorities of your government" has escalated in the past 19 months,
since President Obama announced his concessions to the Castro regime in
Fariñas, who in 2010 won the European Parliament's Andrei Sakharov Prize
for human rights advocacy and the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom from
the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in 2015, has been an
outspoken critic of President Obama. Following the initial announcement
of the beginning of the "normalization" process in 2014, Fariñas said he
felt "betrayed" by President Obama. "We live in daily fear that we will
be killed by the fascist government. And now, the US – our ally – turns
its back on us and prefers to sit with our killers," he said.
In October, Fariñas threatened a hunger strike, then reported this
would-be 25th (in the video released this week, Fariñas clarified this
ongoing one is his 24th). "They have changed for the worse because the
repression has hardened," he said of the Obama administration. If the
Castro regime "crossed the line," he would stop eating, he promised.
Fariñas is currently forced to take eleven medications for life to delay
the damage his previous hunger strikes have done on his body, and he
cannot wear closed-toed shoes because his blood clots extremely easily
following the strikes.
Increased state repression and confiscation of salaries of those working
for foreign corporations have driven the number of Cubans seeking refuge
in the United States to quintuple in the last five years, with a notable
spike following Obama's diplomatic push.
Source: Cuba Post-'Normalization': Tortured Dissident Begins 24th Hunger
Strike to Protest - Breitbart -