Thursday, August 18, 2016

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

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

14ymedio, 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."

Guillermo Fariñas is in "critical condition" according to several
reports issued on Monday afternoon by Jorge Luis Artiles Montiel, known
as "Bebo," a spokesperson for the well-known dissident during his hunger

Artiles Montiel told 14ymedio via telephone that Fariñas had slept "from
the time the doctor left in the morning" until the afternoon visit of
independent unionist Ivan Hernandez Carrillo, with whom he spoke for a
few minutes.

The spokesperson for the FANTU leader said the opponent is now in a very
delicate state in which "he sleeps for long hours, passes little urine
and reports a lot of pain in his lower back and joints."

In the early days of this month, Farinas was visited by a representative
of the Holy See in Havana, José Manuel Alcaide, and the bishop of the
diocese of Santa Clara-Sancti Spiritus, Monsignor Arturo Gonzalez
Amador, who came to his house to show their concern for the health of
the dissident.

During Fariñas' hunger strike he has also been visited by Dana Brown,
head of the Economic Policy Section of the United States Embassy in
Havana and Raquel Gómez, minister counselor in the Spanish embassy.

Fariñas is demanding through his hunger strike that Raul Castro publicly
commit to not repressing the Cuban opposition and to ending state abuses
that affect the self-employed. He is also demanding a dialogue between
the authorities and the Cuban opposition.

Since Farinas began his protest on July 20, he has been taken to the
hospital twice, both times after becoming unconscious. In both cases he
received intravenous hydration in the Arnaldo Milian Castro Hospital in
the city of Santa Clara, and then returned to his home, where he is
being looked after by his mother, who is a nurse.

Guillermo Fariñas has said previously he is willing to continue his
strike "until the final consequences" if all of his demands are not met.

Source: Activists Ask Pope Francis to Take an Interest in Health of
Guillermo Fariñas / 14ymedio – Translating Cuba -

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