MIAMI – Leaders of the Cuban exile community in Miami on Friday called for international solidarity with dissident Guillermo Fariñas, who has been on a hunger and thirst strike for 51 days demanding an end to repression on the island.
The leader of the Democracy Movement, Ramon Saul Sanchez, said at an event in support of Fariñas in Miami’s Little Havana district that this isn’t a Cuban matter, but rather it concerns everyone because it is all about human rights.
“A person who raises his voice to defend the rights of others deserves respect and support,” Sanchez said.
The event, held at the Monument of Heroes, was attended by some 30 people bearing Cuban flags and posters with slogans slamming “the dictatorship of the Castros” and photos of Fariñas with his torso bared and with evident signs on face and body of his long fast at his home in Santa Clara, Cuba.
Among those attending were graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado and Joana Columbie, director of the Academy of the Somos Mas Movement, both members of the opposition on the island.
From Puerto Rico where she is studying, Alicia Fariñas, daughter of the activist, asked everyone interested to use on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others the hashtags #SOSMundialXFariñas, #TodosSomosFariñas, #juntoacoco, #YoApoyoTusDemandas and #RaulRespondeYa.
In Miami, Ramon Saul Sanchez said the Cuban regime prefers to let Fariñas die than listen to his demands.
Sanchez, who in the past went on his own hunger strikes, repeated his plea that permanent medical attention be provided for Fariñas, instead of being an ambulatory patient as he is now every time his health deteriorates.
In Sanchez’s opinion, all this going to and from the hospital is very wearing and represents an additional risk for Fariñas, winner of the 2010 Sajarov Prize for Human Rights.
Maria Elena Alpizar, representative of the Ladies in White in the United States, also told EFE how important it is that the international community lend its support to Fariñas, because, she said, “if it doesn’t, he’s going to die.”
Alpizar noted the fact that the first secretary of the Papal Nunciature in Havana visited the dissident last month at his home in Santa Clara, and that diplomats from the United States and Europe have also spent some time with him.
As for the state of Fariñas’s health, the Lady in White said he is in serious condition and could turn critical at any moment, and insisted that with the anemia he is suffering, he needs blood transfusions, but the family and the opposition don’t want to resort to the blood banks of the Cuban healthcare system.
Alpizar said they were looking for private blood donors to help improve his condition.