Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas has collected the EU’s Sakharov human rights prize – two and a half years after he won it.
Raising his fist aloft, the campaigner and journalist told a packed EU parliament in Strasbourg, “This gesture symbolises the strength of the hope that one day there’ll be democracy in Cuba!”
The accolade was awarded to him after he carried out a 135-day hunger strike in 2010 to press for the release of political prisoners.
Barred from leaving Cuba until recently,Farinas was able to travel to Strasbourg to collect his long-awaited prize due to Havana’s abolition of exit permit restrictions in January.
During his acceptance speech he called for fellow dissidents to keep up the struggle for change in Cuba, saying: “We are going to continue our non-violent fight. Cuba will become free – not because of a concession from the government, but due to the will of its citizens!”
Farinas has spent more than 15 years protesting against the Cuban government and has staged more 23 hunger strikes.