Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas receiving fluids intravenously

Posted on Tuesday, 03.16.10
Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas receiving fluids intravenously By JUAN O. TAMAYO

Dissident Guillermo Fariñas remained in a Cuban hospital Monday in what one human rights activist called a “milimetric” government concession to his hunger strike.

Fariñas was stable but weak and suffering from severe headaches at the intensive care unit of the Arnaldo Milan Castro hospital in his hometown of Santa Clara, said his mother, Alicia Hernandez.

He is receiving fluids intravenously but continues to refuse to eat or drink, Hernandez said by telephone from the hospital.

Fariñas was hospitalized when he fainted Thursday, on the 16th day of his protest to demand the Cuban government release about two dozen political prisoners reported with serious health problems.

He also lost consciousness and was rushed to the hospital on March 3, but at that time doctors hydrated him with intravenous fluids, declared him stable the same day and refused to admit him.

His current stay in the hospital means the government “made a millimetric concession” from its previous “very dangerous” position of rehydrating Fariñas and sending him home, said Havana human rights activist Elizardo Sánchez.

A group of bloggers, writers and artists from Cuba and other countries meanwhile launched an online letter, titled “Orlando Zapata Tamayo: I accuse the Cuban government,” to demand the immediate release of all political prisoners.

Zapata, 42, a political prisoner who was serving sentences totaling about 36 years, died Feb. 23 after an 83-day hunger strike. Fariñas launched his protest one day later. There are nearly 5,000 signers of the letter, which can be found at at http://orlandozapata .

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