Farinas Continues Hunger Strike for Release of Ill Political Prisoners in Cuba
Farinas Continues Hunger Strike for Release of Ill Political Prisoners
Guillermo "Coco" Farinas, on a hunger and thirst strike in Cuba, for the
release of political prisoners who are ill.
To report what hurts us, to write about what we have encountered,
touched, suffered, transcends the journalistic experience to become a
living testimony. The distance between articles about a man on a hunger
strike and the act of feeling his ribs protruding from his sides, is an
abyss. Thus, no interview can reproduce the tear filled eyes of Clara,
Guillermo Farinas' wife, while she tells me that for their daughter her
father has a stomach illness and so grows thinner every day. Not even a
long report could manage to describe the panic induced by the camera
which, a hundred yards from the home of this Villa Claran, observes and
films everyone who approaches number 615A Calle Aleman.
To accumulate paragraphs, compile quotes and show recordings, fails to
convey the odor of the emergency room where Farinas was moved yesterday.
My guilt for having come too late to beg him to eat again, to persuade
him to avoid irreversible damage to his health, is unbearable. On the
drive there I wove together some phrases to convince him not to carry on
to the end, but before coming into the city a text message confirmed he
was hospitalized. I would have said to him, "You have already
accomplished it, you have helped to remove their mask," but instead of
this I had to offer words of consolation to his family, sitting in his
absence in that room in the humble neighborhood of La Chirusa.
Why have they brought us to this point? How can they close all the paths
of dialog, debate, healthy dissent and necessary criticism? When this
kind of protest, a protest of empty stomachs, happens in a country we
have to question whether they have left citizens any other way to show
their lack of consent. Farinas knows they will never give him one minute
on the radio, that his voice cannot rise up, without penalty, in a
public place. Refusing to eat was the way he found to show the
desperation and despair of living under a system that gags and masks his
most important "conquests."
Coco cannot die. Because in the long funeral procession that is taking
Orlando Zapata Tamayo, our voice and the rights of citizens which they
killed long ago… there is no room for one more death.
Yoani Sanchez: Farinas Continues Hunger Strike for Release of Ill
Political Prisoners in Cuba (12 March 2010)