HAVANA – The health of hunger-striking Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas has worsened due to a “severe infection” contracted from the catheter through which he had been receiving intravenous nutrition, his wife Clara Perez said on Sunday.
“He had a high fever on Saturday. They’re administering to him an antibiotic and we have to wait for it to take effect,” said Perez from the intensive care unit at the Arnaldo Milian Castro provincial hospital in the central city of Santa Clara, where Fariñas, 48, is receiving care.
The psychologist and independent journalist has remained hospitalized there for two weeks after suffering his second collapse since he began his hunger-and-thirst strike a month ago in an effort to get the government of Raul Castro to free 26 imprisoned dissidents whom the opposition says are ill.
Perez said that Fariñas “has a severe infection ... that he contracted via the catheter they removed from him until tomorrow (Monday), when the doctors are going to decide if they’re going to replace it.”
She added that “he is conscious. In the last few hours he has not had a high fever, but he has very low blood pressure. This is a complication.”
In addition, Perez said that her husband is continuing to be “hydrated with dextrose solutions.”
Fariñas began his hunger strike after the death in prison of Orlando Zapata Tamayo after a hunger strike of 85 days, and he has insisted that he is only asking Gen. Castro to make a “humanitarian gesture” by releasing the sick dissidents.
The Cuban government accuses Zapata and Fariñas of being common criminals and “mercenaries” in the service of the United States.