HAVANA – Cuban opposition figure Guillermo Fariñas ended on Monday the hunger strike he had been pursuing for 54 days to demand that the island’s government stop repressing dissidents, his spokesman, Jorge Luis Artiles, told EFE.
Fariñas abandoned the hunger strike at the request of the group he heads, the illegal United Anti-totalitarian Front, or Fantu, whose members felt that his effort had gotten the European Union to include in its agreement with the Cuban government an amendment “related to the cessation of violence against the opposition,” the organization said.
This was the 25th hunger strike that the 54-year-old Fariñas had staged.
The dissident leader received the 2010 Sakharov Prize from the European Parliament for his efforts to defense human rights.
Fantu met on Monday and decided to ask Fariñas to end the hunger strike during which he had also restricted his intake of liquids.
The EU’s decision “opens opportunities for other initiatives in the international sphere,” Fantu said in a communique, adding that it considered Fariñas’s hunger strike to be “a victory.”
During the 54 days of the protest, which he pursued at his home in the central city of Santa Clara, Fariñas was hospitalized four times after losing consciousness.
On Aug. 8, the opposition leader told EFE he was convinced that the Cuban government wanted to carry out “premeditated murder” against him via the strategy of not keeping him hospitalized and not giving him a blood transfusion despite the fact that his physical condition made those medical measures necessary.
During his protest, Fariñas received visits from top officials with the Cuban Catholic Church and representatives from assorted embassies and the EU inquiring about his health and asking him to abandon the hunger strike.
After the 54-day fast, Fariñas has lost 22 kilograms (48 pounds) and his current weight is 65 kg (143 lb.), Artiles told EFE.
In addition, he said that Fariñas had begun to drink water in small quantities with the aim of gradually resuming ingestion of solid food.
During the hunger strike, Fariñas received support on the social networks and also from Miami, where a large portion of Cuban exiles live.
The Cuban government considers dissidents to be “counterrevolutionaries” and “mercenaries.”