Cuba dissident Farinas finally picks up 2010 Sakharov prize

Cuba dissident Farinas finally picks up 2010 Sakharov prize

Saying “Cuba will be free”, dissident Guillermo Farinas on Wednesday
finally picked up the European Union’s prestigious Sakharov human rights
prize — three years after winning the award.
“This fist held high means there will one day be democracy in Cuba,”
Farinas told the packed European Parliament to a standing ovation as he
dedicated the prize to his mother, who also attended the ceremony.
Farinas, who has staged 23 hunger strikes to help secure the release of
scores of political prisoners, was able to travel to the French city of
Strasbourg to pick up the award thanks to Cuba’s abolition of exit
permit requirements in January.
In 2010, an empty chair draped in a Cuban flag had symbolised Havana’s
refusal to allow him to pick up the prize, whose past winners include
South Africa’s Nelson Mandela, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi and former UN
chief Kofi Annan.
Farinas is the third Cuban to be awarded the 50,000-euro ($64,000)
prize, named after late Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov.
In April, Cuba’s “Ladies in White”, who also fought for the release of
jailed Cuban dissidents, travelled to Strasbourg to accept the award
they had won eight years earlier.
In 2002 the honour went to Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, who last year
died in a car crash. The United States has called for a probe into the
Farinas, 51, won the award after a 135-day hunger strike in 2010 to
press for the release of political prisoners.
A journalist who has also campaigned for a free press and against
Internet censorship, he carried out his hunger strikes over 15 years in
an ongoing, bold confrontation with the only one-party Communist
government in the Americas.
He told European lawmakers that his mother, Alicia Hernandez, had begged
him to go into exile the first time he came out of prison, but that “I
answered this would not serve as a lesson for Cuban patriots.”

Source: “Cuba dissident Farinas finally picks up 2010 Sakharov prize <
French news | Expatica France” –

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