Hunger strike in Cuba
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    Cuban official urges political hunger striker to stop

    Cuban official urges political hunger striker to stop
    AFP March 22, 2010, 9:26 am

    HAVANA (AFP) – A top Cuban state security official for the first time
    visited hunger striker Guillermo Farinas in and urged him to
    stop his nearly month-long protest, a spokesman for the said.

    The head of Cuba's department of counterrevolutionary activities Hector
    de la Fe Freire "asked Guillermo Farinas to end his strike, telling him
    his was so poor that he risks dying," Licet Zamora told AFP by

    The spokeswoman said it was the first time a government official had
    visited Farinas since he began his hunger strike seeking the release of
    political prisoners on February 24.

    "Guillermo told him he first wants 26 political prisoners who are sick
    to go free," she said, adding that the official made no comment on that
    request or others Farinas made.

    A and psychologist, Farinas, 48, launched his fast the day
    after Orlando died on the 85th day of his own
    hunger strike.

    Farinas has been protesting the treatment of 26 political prisoners
    needing medical attention in Cuba, the only one-party communist regime
    in the Americas.

    Farinas was taken to a local hospital from his home in Santa Clara, 280
    kilometers (168 miles) east of Havana, after he passed out on March 11,
    and is being fed intravenously.

    The Cuban government deems Farinas "an agent of the " and
    his protest "blackmail," and has said he would be "entirely responsible"
    for his own fate should he die.

    Farinas' hunger strike and Zapata's death have ignited international
    outcry. even offered Farinas political asylum, which he turned down.

    Meanwhile, wives and mothers of numerous political prisoners completed
    an unprecedented week of protest marches in Havana in defiance of the
    authorities to press for the release of the dissidents, some of whom
    have been held for seven years.
    Havana insists it keeps no political prisoners, branding the dissidents
    in jail as "mercenaries" in the pay of the United States.

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