Cuban dissident Roque reportedly very ill from hunger strike

Leading Cuban dissident Martha Beatriz Roque is extremely ill due to complications from her diabetes and a liquids-only fast launched to protest the government, another dissident reported Thursday.

"A doctor who visited her this morning said she may not last the day," said Vladimiro Roca in the early afternoon. By early evening, he reported later, she was "not worse, but not better either."

The 64-year-old Roque, who is diabetic and has suffered two heart attacks, was released from prison in 2004 because of her health. She had been sentenced to 20 years during the 2003 crackdown on dissidents known as "Black Spring."

An economist, Roque is one of the most active and best-known dissidents in Cuba. She served three other years in prison, 1997-2000, for her role in the Dissidence Working Group and a keystone opposition document titled "The Country Belongs To All."

Roque, Roca and six other dissidents launched the fast Tuesday -- a younger dissident is on a total hunger strike -- to intensify a month-long sit-in protest at Roca's Havana home against state security agents.

A senior state security official paid a "personal" visit to the house Thursday and asked to speak to her, but offered no conciliation, Roca said. So she refused to see him.

She fainted twice Wednesday and had staying in his bedroom Thursday, conscious but weak and suffering from strong headaches, added Roca, a former Cuban air force combat pilot and son of a leader of the island's pre-Castro communist party.

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