Cuban hunger striker 'prepared to die'

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Cuban hunger striker 'prepared to die'

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A Cuban dissident who has spent nine days on hunger strike says he will starve himself to death unless authorities release political prisoners.

Guillermo Farinas has refused food and water since the death of jailed Cuban political activist Orlando Zapata, late last month. Zapata died after a two and a half month hunger strike.

Farinas, a 48-year old psychologist and journalist, said from his home:

“I want to show the world that political assassinations carried out by the state are an everyday occurence in Cuba. I am willing to follow through with this hunger strike to its ultimate consequences- even to my death.”

There has been both a diplomatic and public condemnation of Cuba’s government since Zapata’s death. The EU and the US have called for it to release political prisoners.

On Friday around a hundred people joined a rally in front of the Cuban embassy in Mexico. One protestor said:

“We have citizens here who are convinced now more than ever that we need to speak up for our Cuban brothers. It’s important to show solidarity, to support human rights. We’re not just working for a free Cuba but for a free Latin America.”

Cuba denies it has political prisoners and claims Zapata was a common criminal, who became a political dissident because of the material support he would receive from abroad.