Hunger striking Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas is said to be close to death.
The 48-year-old has been refusing food since February while demanding the release of 26 political prisoners with failing health.
Farinas, who is being fed intravenously, is
a psychologist and freelance journalist. He was moved to a hospital in March where doctors now say he has developed a blood clot that could kill him.
Farinas began his protest after another dissident, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, died while on hunger strike in a Cuban jail.
Farinas’s deteriorating condition has – unusually – been reported in the official communist party newspaper Granma in an attempt, say observers, to defuse international criticism should he die.
Doctor Armando Caballero who is treating Farinas said his patient had developed a blood clot in his neck which, “it is feared, could restrict the flow of blood to his heart putting him in serious potential danger of death”.
He added that Farinas is suffering from an infection which would make further intravenous feeding impossible but he will not be force fed he said because that is in contravention of medical ethics.
The Cuban government insists it will not give in to Farinas’s protest and says it will be his own fault if he dies.