Cuba draws hard line with hunger striker Farinas

The Miami HeraldMarch 9, 2010 

Cuba's Granma newspaper Monday indicated that dissident Guillermo Farinas will be allowed to die if he continues on his hunger strike, saying it would be unethical to force-feed him and that the government "will not accept pressures or blackmails."

The article amounts to "my death sentence," Fariñas said, adding that Cuban authorities are "preparing public opinion for my death," and will be "responsible for whatever way my hunger strike ends."

A Spanish diplomat who visited him Monday told him Cuba was willing to let him leave for Madrid, an offer that he refused, Fariñas said by phone from his home in Santa Clara, 175 miles east of Havana.

Cuba's tough posture came as Fariñas, 48, a psychologist and dissident journalist, went without food and liquids for a 13th day to demand the freedom of 26 political prisoners he says are in ill health.

Farinas, who launched his protest one day after political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo died following an 83-day hunger strike, and passed out for about 2 1/2 hours last week, said he would continue his fast "until the final consequence."

Granma's article marked a rare mention of a dissident by the government-controlled news media.

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