Cuban hunger striker in hospital after passing out

Posted on Friday, 03.12.10
Cuban hunger striker in hospital after passing out
Associated Press Writer

HAVANA — A Cuban hunger striker was receiving fluids and medical care
in a government hospital Friday, a day after passing out at home, and
has refused requests by other dissidents and religious leaders to
abandon his protest.

Guillermo Farinas was taken to a hospital in the central Cuban city of
Santa Clara on Thursday. It was the second time he has lost
consciousness – and received fluids and nutrients intravenously – since
launching his hunger strike on Feb. 24.

"He is in stable condition. They are hydrating him and giving him
medicine," spokeswoman Licet Zamora told The Associated Press.

Zamora said well-known Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez; her husband,
Reinaldo Escobar; and others visited Farinas at the hospital Thursday,
on a mission to persuade him to give up the protest. They were unable to
see him because he was in intensive care. Roman Catholic leaders have
also called on him to abandon his strike, but Farinas has refused.

Ismeli Iglesias, a dissident doctor who is helping treat Farinas, said
that the hospital's intervention meant his life was no longer in danger.
But Iglesias warned that Farinas' immune system was weak and
complications could emerge. He said Farinas could survive for months if
his family continues to take him to the hospital each time he loses

Farinas is demanding the release of 26 ailing political prisoners. The
government has said it would not give in to "pressure or blackmail." It
has placed responsibility for Farinas' life squarely in the hands of
foreign diplomats and the international news media, which it says is
manipulating him as part of a campaign against Cuba's communist government.

Cuba considers the dissidents to be common criminals paid by Washington
to undermine the government.

On Thursday, the European Parliament condemned Cuba for what it called
the "avoidable and cruel" death of another dissident hunger striker,
Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died Feb. 23 after an 83-day hunger strike.
The European assembly said it was also alarmed by Farinas' case, and
called on Cuba to ensure his safety.

Cuba's own parliament denounced the EU decision, decrying it on Thursday
as hypocritical and offensive, and insisting it was made after a
"sullied debate."

Cuba kept up the angry rhetoric on Friday, with a long article in the
Communist Party daily Granma titled: "European Parliament allies itself
with the Anti-Cuban campaign."

The article accuses Europe of colonialism, and says the resolution –
passed by a 509-30 vote – was orchestrated by reactionary right-wing
parties. It said the vote was part of a long and nefarious campaign
against Cuba.

"It is a shame that such an institution dedicates itself to articulating
conspiracies and propping up mercenaries and criminals," the article
said. "It would be funny if it were not so offensive to our country."
Editor's Note: Associated Press Writer Andrea Rodriguez contributed to
this report.

Cuban hunger striker in hospital after passing out – Florida AP – (12 March 2010)

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