Cuban dissident Farinas gets European human rights award

A prestigious human rights prize awarded to dissident Guillermo Fariñas on Thursday was the fourth admonition to the Cuban government this week that its reforms are not enough, Cuba watchers said Thursday.

Fariñas, 48, a psychologist and independent journalist whose 135-day hunger strike earlier this year put him near death, was awarded the Sakharov prize and more than $60,000 by the European Parliament.

``This is a message that the democratic governments in the civilized world are sending to the Cuban government that freeing some political prisoners is not enough,'' he told El Nuevo Herald by phone from his home in the central city of Santa Clara.

``It's not a prize for Guillermo Fariñas,'' he added.

``It's a prize for the rebelliousness of this people against the dictatorship, the prisoners, the people on the streets receiving blows and threats,'' he added.

Fariñas added that he might stage another hunger strike if he's not allowed to leave Cuba to receive the prize at a ceremony Dec. 15 in Strasbourg, France, home of the European parliament. Cuba regularly denies exit permits to dissidents awarded international prizes.

The Raúl Castro government had no immediate comment on Fariñas' prize, but Cuba watchers noted that it was the latest in a string of setbacks that Havana suffered just this week:

President Barack Obama declared that Cuba has not changed enough to merit U.S. gestures.

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